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Full text of "An oral history of the recent Tennessee political history : interviews with Joe C. Carr, December 2, 1977, August 6, 1978, [and] March 2, 1979 / by Charles W. Crawford, transcribers - Dorothy Garrett, [Betty Williams and Carol Laney]"

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MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY 
LIBRARIES 

,MVC 
JK 
5225 
1977 
C37 



UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS LIBRARIES 



3 2109 00698 9777 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 



http://archive.org/details/recenxxxxxxxxxxxOOcraw 



AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE RECENT TENNESSEE POLITICAL HISTORY 

INTERVIEWS WITH JOE C. CARR 

DECEMBER 2, 1977 

AUGUST 6/ 1978 

MARCH 2, 1979 



BY CHARLES W. CRAWFORD 

TRANSCRIBER - DOROTHY GARRETT 

ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH OFFICE 

MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY 



MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY 
ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH OFFICE 

I hereby release all right, title, or interest in and to all or 
any part of my tape-recorded memoirs to the Mississippi Valley Archives 
of the John Willard Brister Library of Memphis State University, subject 
to the following stipulations: 

That this interview will be used by no one except the interviewee, 
Joe C. Carr, Sr. p and the interviewer, Charles W. 



Crawford 



, for a period of jj y ears without the written 



consent of both the interviewer and the interviewee. In the event of 
the death of either of the above mentioned parties during this period 
of time written consent must be secured from the surviving party. At 
the expiration o f jj years from this date the interview will become 
the unrestricted property of Memphis State University unless the period 
of restriction is extended by the interviewee. 



PLACE Memphis, TN 



February 15, 1981 



DATE 




(For the Mississippi /alley Archives 
of the John Willard Brister Library 
of Memphis State University) 



(OHRO Form C) 



THIS IS THE ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH OFFICE OF MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY. 
THIS PROJECT IS "AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE E.H. CRUMP ERA." THE PLACE IS 
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE. THE DATE IS DECEMBER 2, 1977, AND THE INTERVIEW 
IS WITH MR. JOE C. CARR. THE INTERVIEW IS BY DR. CHARLES W. CRAWFORD, 
DIRECTOR OF THE MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH OFFICE, 
AND WAS TRANSCRIBED BY DOROTHY BLAKE GARRETT. INTERVIEW I. 

DR. CRAWFORD: I'd like to ask you, Mr. Carr, for a lit- 

tle information about yourself. Something 
about your family and where you were born and then a summary of your 

career up to 1977. Can you tell something about your family? 

MR. CARR: Dr. Crawford, I was born in Putnam County, 

Tennessee, Cookeville, on June 20, 1907. 
I was the son of Sidney Forest Ca.rr . My mother's name was Laura Bur- 
ton Carr. Her maiden name was Burton. They were both natives of Put- 
name County and had lived there for many years and I attended public 
schools in Cookeville until we moved to Nashville in December, 1918. 
We moved to Nashville because my father had been in Nashville for 
eight or ten years as an employee clerk in the office of Secretary 
of State, and I later of course, to occupy that office myself. We 
moved here. My father ran for the legislature from Putnam County in 
1918 and was elected and we moved to Nashville in December of 1918 
and served in that General Assembly of 1919. Then I started to pub- 
lic schools in Nashville and we have lived continuously ihere since 
that time. My father died in 1931. 



I first became interested (of course I was interested in politics even at an 
early age I because of my father's interest in the political affairs of our 
state. 

But I first occupied, as you might say, a job in politics in 1923 as a 
page in the State Senate. In those days the legislature had few employees 
and only two pages in each branch of the general assembly. Two in the House 
and two in the Senate. It was quite an experience for me because I had to 
write all the 33 senators and had to get their support to be one of the pages. 
I was still in elementary school. In fact, I graduated from grammar school 
that year in June. I was able to keep up my studies while I was serving as 
page and graduate from grammar school in June of 1923. The Honorable Eugene 
Brown who was elected speaker of the Senate in 1923 gave me my job as page so 
that was really the beginning of a long, and I think enjoyable for the most 
part, experience in the political history of our state. That was the term 
that Governor Austin Peay had served as governor of this state and he was 
one of the first governors elected for three consecutive terms . That was 
when we had a two year term for governor during that period of time. He 
died in the third year period of his tenure in office and was succeeded by 
Henry H. Horton, who was Speaker of the Senate who was from Marshall County, 
Tennessee. Marshall County incidentally had three or four governors, Henry 
Horton, Buford Ellington, and Jim McCord all were from Marshall County and 
there could 've been maybe another one I don't recall at this time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: That's as many as Shelby County. It only had four. 
MR. CARR: Is that right? 



MR. CARR: 
DR. CRAWFORD: 
MR. CARR: 



DR. CRAWFORD: Yes. 

MR. CARR: But the early part of my political life I served as a page 

in the 1925 legislature and in 1927 also. In 1929 I was 
not in. I was working with the Tennessee Department of Highways at that time 
and was unable to serve as a page, "but I did come back in 1931. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Now let's see, you were serving only an off number of years 

then weren't you? 

That ' s true . 

You served as page. 

During the other period of time I was in high school and 

when the economy began to slip and then we were on the 
verge of the Depression , I had to drop out of high school because of a 
certain financial circumstance and continue to work. I worked in the High- 
way Department during the most of that time. [it was the] early start of 
the construction period in Tennessee and Governor Peay was the father they 
said of the "Good Road System" in Tennessee.. , Because East Tennesseans par- 
ticularly said they were in the mud, and most of Tennessee was. But Gov- 
ernor Peay was credited with having started the "Good Road System" in the 
state back then. 

Yes, I believe he was called the road-building Governor. 

That ' s right . 

And you were a Senate page in the 1923 session. Were 

you in the 1925 session? 
MR. CARR: I only served one term in the Senate. The rest of my 



DR. CRAWFORD: 
MR. CARR: 
DR. CRAWFORD: 



experience in the legislative service was in the House. 
DR. CRAWFORD: That was in '25? 

Nineteen twenty-five, '27 and I think I skipped '29, I came 

back in '31. 

I see. About '29 when you weren't serving, you were working 

for the Highway Department. 

Tennessee Highway Department. 

Now let's see. Were you there when Neil Bass was Commis- 
sioner of Highways? 

Yeah. He was Commissioner at one time and a fellow named 

Baker from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was Commissioner [also]. 

You might be interested in knowing that I've also interviewed 

your boss, Mr. Neil Bass, on tape. 

Is that true? 

He retired in Washington after he'd worked for TVA and then 

went to Washington for another federal agency. When he 
left state government he went through TVA. Well, I think he first went to 
Knoxville, didn't he as city manager of something? 
MR. CARR: He did later. Yes, that's true. 
DR. CRAWFORD: What work did you do with the Tennessee Highway Department 

when you were there? 
MR. CARR: Well I started out as a rodsman. A rodsman back then was 

holding the rod for the instrument man who was with me 
making right-of-ways and center lines for the construction of our road system 
back then. I guess they still have rodsmen. They may change the classifica- 
tion a little but I'm sure they still have them. I worked with a survey crew 



MR. CARR: 

DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 

DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 

DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 

DR. CRAWFORD: 



■V71< 






really and while you were listed as a rodsman you had other duties, to do. 
I used an ax to drive markers and so forth, It was very interesting and 
I enjoyed it. 

DR. CRAWFORD: I know what you mean, Mr. Carr. I've worked with survey- 
ors too when they surveyed for my Dad and I remember so 
many rods and so many chains. I've also had a job using an ax to clear 
brush so they could site the line, and I've also had a job when I was young- 
er carrying a water jug which is pretty important. 
MR. CARR: Well, I did some of that also. We did a lot of many things 

but it was interesting work cause it was outside. Some- 
times in the wintertime it got a little cold but generally speaking it was 
real interesting. Particularly when you look back today from the type of 
roads that we were building then using mules and scoops to the types of 
machinery they're using today, it's quite a difference. 
DR. CRAWFORD: What were the roads like in Tennessee before Austin Peay's 

time? 
MR. CARR: Well, you had very few. You had what they called a hump- 
back paved road — what paved roads you had. Most of them 
were dirt roads. Most of them were rural dirt roads. Some of them, of course, 
were used crushed stone maybe on some of them. Most of them in the main 
roads were of asphalt but they called them a kind of a humb-back asphalt road 
which was fairly narrow and very crooked, most of them, because in those 
days they were just eliminating toll roads. A lot of counties back then had 
toll roads and they were maintained by private ownership, people who owned 



the toll roads and maintained them. On the county roads hack in those days 
people that lived in communities had to work on the road so many days out 
of the year regardless of who you were. They might have had a double plan 
whether you either worked your time or you paid somebody to work that time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I think you could either work or make a payment. People 

who didn't have much money supposedly did work. 
MR. CARR: That's right. It'd be hard for the youngsters today to 

understand some of the hardships they had back in those 
days . 
DR. CRAWFORD: Were the roads pretty muddy? Did the town seem to suffer 

much from that? 
MR. CARR: Well, in certain areas the roads were in pretty bad shape. 

They were muddy and in the wintertime — particularly when 
they had a lot of rain, and ice or snow — a lot of roads were impassable al- 
most. It was hard to go from Nashville to even Lebanon or Cookeville or 
Columbia which had the toll road as I previously stated. Most of the people 
then traveling used trains that connected most of the smaller towns at that 
particular time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: How much of that was the state road system? And how much 

was county? 
MR. CARR: Well, what the ratio was Doctor, it was not until Governor 

Peay came in really did you have what you might call a 
state road system. Prior to thatl haven't researched to find out just ex- 
actly how much the state provided or how much of most of it was burdened 



on the counties to maintain. And a lot, of course, was on the toll road 
system. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Now, were the toll roads generally owned by private com- 
panies? 
MR. CARR: As I understand most toll roads were owned by private 

individuals . And they were supposed to maintain that 
section of toll road that they might maintain. As I recall, and I'm not 
sure of this—the accuracy of it — I went to Columbia with a baseball team 
way back and seems to me like that we had three or four toll roads between 
here and Lebanon, Tennessee, which is only about thirty miles. So you can 
see they may have had more than three. You can see where one big land own- 
er or maybe a combination might own four, five, or six miles of road that 
they had to maintain. That would be pretty interesting to research a little 
to see actually how they did this. I'm not positive. 

DR. CRAWFORD: I believe it was like that, and I heard or read that it 

was in Austin Peay's administration that the first trip 
by automobile all the way across state in a day took place. Do you know 
anything about that? 

MR. CARR: Well, I'm sure that's true. I know we used to — when the 
roads were even better — in going to Memphis it was almost 
a good day's ride in a T-Model Ford. And that was before the bridges were 
built across the Tennessee River and there were ferries you had to pay. 
And later after they built the bridge it was a toll bridge. But it was a 
pretty good day's ride to go from Nashville to Memphis in a T-Model auto- 



mobile. 

DR. CRAWFORD; Well, it was still slow. I remember working in Buford 

Ellington's campaign in ' 66 that you had to count on half 
a day between Nashville and Memphis. You know the interstate- was not open 
then. The highways were good. You went through every town and there were 
the stop lights and signs and the traffic. It was slow then. 
MR. CARR: Well, I think you miss a lot of the beautiful countryside 

today. Although the interstates are more convenient, 
you do miss something when you travel the interstates that you used to see 
when you traveled the old highways. 
DR. CRAWFORD: When I have time, I like to get off the interstate and 

drive along some of the other roads . 
MR. CARR: Oh yeah. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Say through the Timberlands or the Sequatchie Valley, or 

down the Tennessee River. 
MR. CARR: Yeah, we have so much beautiful scenery in Tennessee. It's 

such a diversified state, starting with the mountainous 
East Tennessee and then continuing on through Middle Tennessee which is hills 
and then crossing the Tennessee River into West Tennessee which is a flat 
country. We have a beautiful state, and a diversified state. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Were they using any tractors or power machinery when you 

first worked with the Highway Department? 
MR. CARR: I don't recall any at all when I first started. I think 

possibly later they did, but they used what they called 
a mule and a scoop. It's hard to explain a scoop. It was a thing with a 



handle on it . A mule hitched to it. Maybe it would pick up a yard of dirt, 

you know, hut it was slow, tedious work. 

DR. CRAWFORD ^ Kind of like using a hand-held plow. 

MR. CARR: Hitch it to a mule and then you'd take it on and you 

take a large field in some areas of the state. It took 
a lot of time. Now West Tennessee wasn't quite as had as it would be in 
Middle and East because of the terrain, you know. And of course they had 
to do a lot of blasting in areas where they built , for rock and that type 
of thing. And then later when the bridge building started they had to have 
certain types of equipment and machines . When they built cofer dams in 
the middle of the river to drive pilings and things that were necessary for 
the construction of piers, and bents for bridges and so forth that required 
more up-to-date type of machinery. And then later, of course, you got the — 
some of the — a better type of equipment that was more efficient in building 
the highways. Of course, today they have certain types of huge machines 
that can move as much dirt or rock in one day as they possibly could in a 
month back in the old days or maybe more. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Do you remember how large the Highway Department was when 

you first went to work there about 1929? 
MR. CARR: Actually, I worked in the Highway Department I think for 

the first time it was around 192U or '25. That was be- 
tween the sessions of the legislature, you know. They only had some old 
buildings that were located on Sixth Avenue as some of the headquarters. 
Later, the Department of Highways was located in the what is now the Me- 
morial Building. That was the first state office building that was built. 



10 



They occupied a portion of one floor of that "building. I doubt whether they 
had more than, it would just have to be a rough guess of possibly maybe 75 
or a hundred employees — all across the state. Now that could vary and a 
lot of them were seasonal employees because a lot of them worked in the 
summer like myself and with the survey crews . 

The state was divided up into divisions at that time and it still is , 
but I think it's been changed dramatically since then. And each division 
had an engineer and of course today they have the same thing. But today 
they have their own highway department built in and have several thousand 
employees. I know we used an old truck for our survey crew. That was an 
old Dodge, that we had a body made and put on it — I think they bought 
at a surplus — from the army from World War I . They had a lot of equipment 
like that back then. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Now, you first started then for the Highway Department 

around about '2k and it was part-time. 
MR. CARR; It was around '2k or '25 on a part-time basis. They 

used a lot of seasonal — they used a lot of boys going 
to school during the summer months. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Neil Bass was Commissioner of Highways then under Governor 

Austin Peay. After Henry Horton came in I believe he 
changed. Was this where the Kyrock scandal took place? 
MR. CARR: Well, I think that it started in the late *20's, the 

Kyrock, as I recall. I'm not so sure who succeeded Mr. 
Bass unless it was Mr. Baker from Chattanooga. And I'm not I sure]. I 



11 



think he' g deceased. He served for a period of time. I've forgotten who 

succeeded him. They have all that information. We could probably get it 

from the succeeding blue books. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Yes, they're on the records so we can get that. 

MR. CARR: I think what really precipitated maybe some of the things 

that happened in the thirties was the fact that the, I believe, the 29th 

Legislature had authorized at that particular time a huge bond issue for 

road construction. I'm not sure of all the minute details, but anyway, 

I think that is when the Kyrock situation started to develop. The bond 

issue did not pass. And then later came the Depression and that's when a 

lot of things during that era started to develop. And then Governor Peay 

had died and was succeeded by Governor Horton, and Governor Horton, of course, 

was later elected in 1931 because of a lot of the things that had happened. 

I was pretty young at that time, of course, and a lot of it is more 
by having been on the scene but not on the inside of any of it, mostly just 
from reading the newspapers and what you heard. I This] was when the im- 
peachment proceedings were instituted in the legislature against Governor 
Horton because of a lot of things that had happened during that period of 
time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Particularly in this was the bank problems of the Rogers 

Caldwell? 
MR. CARR: The Rogers Caldwell Empire and Colonel Luke Lea, who was 

then publisher and owner of the Nashville- Tennessean 
were close friends and associates. 



12 



DR. CRAWFORD: Now the Kyrock matter involved some kind of paving material, 

didn't it? Called Kyrock? 
MR. CARR: Kyrock. It mostly came out of Kentucky. I guess that's 

the reason it got it's name Kyrock. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I had never thought of that K-Y-R-O-C-K. 
MR. CARR: And I think that was what precipitated maybe a lot of the 

investigation-that they were buying a tremendous amount 
of the Kyrock. I don't know I can't recall at this particular time who 
all the individuals were who were involved. 
MR. CARR: Of course, it would have to involve some of the people I 

guess in the Highway Department who were purchasing that 
material for the highways at that particular time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes, I believe it was supposedly involved with purchases 

and I don't know, it may have been in part because it was 
from out-of-town. The purchase came from Kentucky in a large part. I 
had not realized that was Kyrock 's meaning. What happened with the bank 
problem under Henry Horton? Were the state funds put in the Caldwell empire? 
MR. CARR: That was the cause of it. I think that a lot of the state 

deposits were put in those banks and then, of course, the 
lot of them went into receivership. Some of the state money was lost at 
that particular time. It's a little difficult. I'm a little hazy on how 
many were involved and so forth, but you know, there was a book written on 
Caldwell and Company. I read part of it a few years ago. I don't know 
whether you ever read it or not. 



13 



DR. CRAWFORD: No sir, "but I was just getting ready to make a note to do 

it. I know of the book. It was written by a man [at J 
Vanderbilt or in North Carolina I think and it's supposed to be a very good 
book on that . 
MR. CARR: It's hard to recall all the details, you might say, almost 

50 years later of those events that happened at that par- 
ticular time. But it was quite a hectic time in the state, right during 
that period of time, and particularly when the legislature met in '31 and 
the impeachment proceedings were instituted. It became very much debated 
and heatedly, hotly, contested. Prior to that when Governor Horton had to 
run for re-election, the Crump organization of Memphis supported Horton. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I see. He had taken over in '26 when Austin Peay died. 

He had been Speaker of the Senate had he, I suppose? 
MR. CARR: Yeah. He was Speaker of the Senate and he had taken over. 

And when Governor Peay died , of course, he assumed the 
governor's office and he had to run in the next election because of the two 
year period then. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Which would 've been the '28? 

MR. CARR: As I recall, a fellow from West Tennessee was his oppon- 
ent, and Mr. Crump's organization in Memphis supported, 
as I recall, Governor Horton, much to the surprise of a lot of people. 
Later they broke with Governor Horton and were very active in the impeach- 
ment proceedings against the Governor . 

DR. CRAWFORD: Well, now let's see. They did not break with him until 

after the election of '30. Did they? 



Ill 



MR. CARR: That's right. Yeah. That's true. 

DR. CRAWFORD: And they broke with him about impeachment time then, 

didn't they? 
MR. CARR: The way it came labout wasl before the legislature was 

in session or after. It might have been during the period 
of time that a lot of these things happened relative to the Kyrock and the 
bank situation that the split developed. Then when the legislature met 
is when they, of course, instituted the impeachment proceedings. And I 
think at that particular time the Crump organization was very active in that 
portion of instituting the proceedings against Governor Horton. I know 
that its session lasted one of the long sessions. They had a recess back 
then for the committee that was hearing the charges and, I think, as I recall, 
the legislature did not adjourn officially sine die until July 3 of that 
year of 1931 which I recall, was just the day before the fourth of July. 
I could be wrong, of course. We could look at the journals or find the 
correct data on that , but the proceedings itself could be verified by acts 
of the legislature or in the proceedings that are on file probably in the 
state library regarding the full and complete proceedings of the impeach- 
ment trail . 

Yes, sir. They have all the back issues, don't they? 

I'm sure they do. Yes. 

They're not for sale anywhere now, are they? 

Not unless you could find one of the old book stores or 

something that pu might be able to find possibly you 



DR. CRAWFORD: 
MR. CARR: 
DR. CRAWFORD: 
MR. CARR: 



Vj 



could find one of the journals some where of '31 that might contain it. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I find some books on Tennessee I need at Elder's in Nash- 
ville, and at Burke's in Memphis. I have read that they 
did not impeach Governor Horton only because of Mr. Crump. That is, they 
■were afraid if they got rid of Horton Mr. Crump would be able to select his 
successor. Do you know whether there was any basis to that? 
MR. CARR: Well, I wouldn't have. I don't recall. That's possible 

because if they did impeach under those circumstances, I 
guess that Scott Fitzhugh, who was I believe, Speaker of the Senate at that 
particular time — I'm not sure — would ascend into the governorship. That 
would have to be checked out to see who was Speaker of the Senate in '31. 
I've forgotten really. Do you recall? 
DR. CRAWFORD: No, sir. I don't remember that, but that would be on the 

record. I have read that he was one of Mr. Crump's people, 
And that ' s why . 
MR. CARR: He was Speaker of the Senate. Now, whether it was in '31 

or later, I don't recall. I'm not sure. I could be wrong 
I know Mr. Sam Bratton from Union City in West Tennessee was Speaker at one 
time along during that period of time and I could be wrong about Scott Fitz- 
hugh being Speaker. Seems to me like Scott Fitzhugh came a little later 
than that. I'm not sure. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Let's see. By that time, by 1931 were you back as a page 

again? 
MR. CARR: I wasn't exactly a page then. I think they called me a 

"bill clerk" at that particular time. I had a little 



16 



more experience in the legislative procedure. Bills had to be transferred 
back from the Senate to the House with a written message and they gave me a 
little bit of a job at that particular time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: That's pretty important these days with so much legislation 

going on. 
MR. CARR: Right. And in 1933 I was elected assistant clerk of the 

House. 
DR. CRAWFORD: So you were close to the legislature all this time? 
MR. CARR: Yes. 

DR. CRAWFORD; Do you remember any legislative leaders as being particu- 
larly strong leaders, outstanding people in this time? 
MR. CARR: Well, during that period of time you had of course fellows 

like Eugene Brown , who was Speaker of the Senate , when I 
first came to the legislature as an employee — a strong man— later mayor of 
Chattanooga. And there were other people. It's hard to recall without go- 
ing down a list of names who were some strong leaders back during that period 
of time. It seems to me that you had more older, not real old, but more 
older people serving in the legislature. And later on in the early '30's 
and even in the '20's. You had fellows like Mr. Jim Cummings who later 
served as Secretary of State. 

DR. CRAWFORD: My goodness. He's still around, Mr. Carr. 

MR. CARR And he was a man that was well versed in legislative pro- 

cedure and along with a fellow named I. D. Beasley from 
Carthage, Tennessee. 



IT 



DR. CRAWFORD: I've heard about him. 

MR. CARR: They were very close friends and very effective. They 

served in the House and later, about the same time as 
Mr. [W.N.] Haynes [from Winchester], who was later Speaker of the House, and, 
I think, one time Speaker of the Senate. Mr. Cummings also served as Speaker 
of the House in recent years and is still living. Mr. Haynes and Mr. Beasley 
are both deceased; but the combination that they used to say of Beasley, 
Cummings and Haynes pretty well for some period of time in there were the 
people that controlled pretty well. That was in the days before you had the 
procedure of the legislative sessions as you do today. They were entirely 
different. 

I've heard of that. What was Mr. Haynes first name? 



Walter. Walter N. Everybody called him Pete. P-E-T-E. 

1 

Pete Haynes. He was [from Winchester, Tennessee, Franklin 



DR. CRAWFORD: 
MR. CARR: 

County . ] 

DR. CRAWFORD: I understand they were powerful in their time and people 

up near Carthage tell the story now of a man who was work- 
ing for the Highway Department — you may have heard this story — and one of 
the governors . 

Prentice Cooper. 

Prentice Cooper. You've heard this. 

Yeah. I've heard it. 

Well, sir. How have you heard it? 

Well, I think possibly the same way that you did. That 



MR. CARR: 
DR. CRAWFORD: 
MR. CARR: 
DR. CRAWFORD: 
MR. CARR: 



.j I; 'I 



18 



Prentice Cooper was in his car traveling on the highway 
to go to Cookeville and Knoxville and he came to a road under construction 
up near Carthage, Tennessee, and they flagged the governor's car down. I 
think he was driving maybe himself. He did a lot in those days. They said 
he couldn't go through there because the highway was closed. He'd have to 
detour. And Governor Cooper told them, "You. don't know who I am, do you?" 
He (the governor) said, "I'm Prentice Cooper, Governor of Tennessee." He 
said the flagman said, 'I don't care if you're I.D. Beasley you're not going 
through this road.' You may have it a little different version than that. 
DR. CRAWFORD: No, sir. That's essentially the way that I've heard the 

story too. And I suspect it really happened. I think 
a lot of stories about Prentice Cooper probably really have happened. 
MR. CARR: Yeah, that was possibly a true happening ,but I.D. was a 

real character and a very fine friend of mine — and his 
family. His brother, still living, is a friend. He was a judge over in 
Smith County for many years. I.D. was a mimic and he and Jim {Cummings] and 
Pete Haynes , they could get together at night and they could call on the tele- 
phone and then I.D. could mimic the governor or he could mimic some member of 
the legislature and they had a good time playing tricks on some of their 
friends — and maybe sometimes their enemies — I'm not sure. But they had one 
story when the governor's residence was on West Tenth Avenue about a fellow 
in the legislature — an elderly fellow in the House who wasn't too active in 
getting around. And I.D. said the story was that I.D. had called him one 
night rather late and told him that he was Governor Peay and that he wanted 



19 



him to come out to the residence. He had a very important matter that 
he wished to discuss with him. And he told him that he didn't think 
he could go that time of night. Well, He insisted on it . I understood 
the fellow went . When they got out there , of course , all the doors were 
locked and they found out that I.D. was the man that committed it. But 
they did a lot of those things that were in good humor I think mostly. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Well, there aren't many people who can mimic like that. 
MR. CARR: No. I know when Jim Farley, who was chairman of the 

Democratic National Convention and later Postmaster 
General, was very active as you recall under President Roosevelt, used to 
come to Nashville once or twice on visits. He and I.D. got to be great 
friends because I.D. could mimic Judge Hull — who everybody called judge — 
I he was Secretary of State of course under President Roosevelt] and I.D. 
could mimic Judge Hull. They'd get together after the meetings in the hotel. 
And Mr. Farley would get I.D. to mimic Judge Hull and they got a big kick 
out of it. I used to see Mr. Farley in Washington occasionally and he would 
always want to be remembered to his friend, I.D. Beasley. But they were 
very interesting times back then. It's a new era today and a new ball game 
differently, entirely, from the organizational set-up in the legislature. 
DR. CRAWFORD: It has changed. You've seen it from a very early period. 

You've seen a lot of Tennessee History, Mr. Carr. You 
were getting aware of these things maybe a little before the administration 
of Austin Peay. Do you remember anything about Governor Alf Taylor? 



I'O 



MR. CARR: Well, I remember. Of course when I went in as page, Alf 

Taylor was still governor. Then the inauguration was 
about January 15. And the legislature then met on the first Monday in Jan- 
uary under the old Constitution before they changed it. And I recall one 
day, when the governor's residence was on Seventh Avenue where the Memorial 
Building is located today, that someone sent me over to the governor's resi- 
dence to pick up a message or take something. And I recall going to the 
residence, the first time I had ever been in the governor's residence and 
it was one of the beautiful old homes on Seventh Avenue. Of course it has 
been torn down many, many years ago for the construction of the other build- 
ings. But Governor Taylor was still governor when I went in as page so I 
had about two weeks there that he was governor of the state. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Your service did start under Governor Taylor then? 
MR. CARR: Actually — right — that's true. He was governor until 

I think the inauguration was around maybe the middle of 
January sometime. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Do you remember anything about his campaign? 
MR. CARR: I don't recall too much about the campaign. You know 

he defeated Governor A. H. Roberts of Livingston, Ten- 
nessee, of Overton County, who was a very fine lawyer. And Roberts, I think, 
got in some trouble on a tax situation at that particular time in 1921. 
I've forgotten. It's I think about something they called the sliding tax 
scale. It was more or less a land tax deal back then. I've forgotten what 
Governor Roberts advocated, but anyway he was nominated — Governor Taylor was— 



'J . 



21 



and Governor Taylor beat him in November. 

DR. CRAWFORD: He was the first Republican since Mayor Hooper to make 

it in. 

Right. Course it was fifty years later that we had an- 
other Republican. 

Yeah. Before your friend, Winfield Dunn, got in. Do 
you remember anything about his old dog, Limber, in that 



MR. CARR: 



DR. CRAWFORD 



period? 

MR. CARR: Well, nothing except the stories that they used to tell 

about old Limber. Of course you know you go further back 
in history about the campaign that Governor Taylor and his brother, Bob ran 
against each other — the Battle of the Roses. 
DR. CRAWFORD: That had been '3^ years before that. That was 1886, you 

know, even long before you were born. 

That ' s right . 

Do you know about how old Governor Alf Taylor was? 

At that particular time? 

Uh, huh. 

No, I don't, but I would say he was in his 60's at that 

time. 

He must've been because it had been 3^ years before, you 

know that he ran against his brother. 
MR. CARR: Yeah. Right. He could* ve been a little older. I'm not 



MR. CARR: 

DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 

DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 

DR. CRAWFORD: 



sure. 



22 



MR. CARR: But they talk about Governor Taylor pardoned a lot of 

people that was in prison at that particular time. Get- 
ting hack to pardons, I think he was a very compassionate sort of fellow. 
Maybe "Old Limber" and the dog stories had a lot to do with him being elected, 
because there were a lot of coon hunters and fox hunters back in those days 
you know. 

DR. CRAWFORD: I have heard that's true. And the stories he told about 
"Old Limber" were collected in a book called Tales of Old 
Limber . 

MR. CARR: Yeah. 

DR. CRAWFORD: I've seen a copy but I've never been able to get one be- 
cause they've been out of print for a long time. I'll 
try to remember to ask Mr. Elder if he ever sees any copies of them. 
MR. CARR: It'd be very interesting. You know that I'm retiring 

and getting older and historical background of our state — 
the history of it — I appreciate it more and more. Now I like to go even 
back beyond my period of time, which is almost 5k years ago when I started 
out. We've had a very colorful history in this state and I think it's a 
good thing that we try to perpetuate it and I think you're doing a good job 
in keeping this thing moving, and we can keep it going so that those that 
follow along after us will appreciate maybe what has happened with the 
good along with some of the bad things that have happened. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Well, that's what we're doing now, Mr. Carr. The history 

of the last about half-century is going to be pretty well 
preserved. You know these recollections of yours don't get all of it. But 



23 



by the time I talk to several dozen of you, who have lived through it... 

ME. CAER: You can put together a pretty good... 

DR. CRAWFORD: Have a pretty good picture. And I am going to talk to 

Senator Cummings too. 
MR. CARR: I think you will get a lot of amusing stories. Probably 

no man in the state is more knowledgeable because he 
precedes me by several years. He worked in the capitol then along with my 
father and that's where he met his wife. She worked there also. She's 
deceased now. He could probably give you a lot more good stories than I've 
been able to give you. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Well, I'm going to talk with him too. In fact, I'd better 

write to him in Woodbury before very long. He's done a 
lot for this county in the time that he was over there. 
MR. CARR: Oh my goodness. Tremendous. Jim Cummings is a very fine 

man — has contributed a lot down through the years . I was 
glad to see him honored by being elected Speaker of the House at one time 
in the latter part of his life. He's done a lot not only for his county but 
I think he's done a lot for the state. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Someone was telling me how many state jobs one time he 

had been able to get for the county. Let's see. What 
county is he in? 
MR. CARR: Cannon. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Cannon County. Yeah. 
MR. CARR: Yeah. Woodbury. 
DR. CRAWFORD: How many people were there in Cannon County that were 



;-)i 



employed by tlie state. 
MR. CARR: Well, I think Jim used to get a lot of people employed in 

some of these institutional jobs. Back then they weren't 
high paying jobs. People that worked at some of these institutions didn't 
make but i+0 or 50 dollars a month. A man and his wife would get a job at 
some place like what they used to call Central State for Uo or 50 dollars 
a month, but they also had a maintenance, you know. They had a place to 
live. Guards at the prison didn't make but ^0 or 50 or 60 dollars a month, 
but they had a place to live and food and so forth. Those jobs back then 
were very much sought after. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Well, any kind of job was worth a lot in the thirties. 
MR. CARR: Right. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Or back before WW II came along with the employment it 

brought. Things mattered a lot. And you've been in the 
legislature, been serving with the legislature for several years. In 1933 
you were elected by the legislature for what position? 
MR. CARR: Assistant clerk, what they called assistant chief clerk. 

You had a chief clerk and an assistant clerk that were 
elected by the legislature. Each branch had their own clerk and assistant 
clerk. 

DR. CRAWFORD; Of the House? 

MR. CARR: Yes. I was elected to the House. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Let's see. That was then in the administration of Hill 

McAllister and that was in the depths of the Depression. 



25 



Wasn't it? 

MR. CARR: That's right, 

DR. CRAWFORD: Depression reached about its lowest point in early '33, March, 
I believe. 

MR. CARR: Right. And that's when President Roosevelt came in and closed 
a lot of banks. We had the bank holiday for a while. We 

were just about at the bottom of the barrel. So to speak but we bounced back. 

DR. CRAWFORD: That's true. A lot of federal money came into the state dur- 
ing that period of time. 

Oh, yeah, you had the WPA and other federal programs-that 
Youth program, you know. II, (?) 
NYA or something like that. 

NYA put a lot of people to work and really revived the situa- 
tion to a very sick country, almost overnight really. There 

were a lot of people that were hungry during those days and to get a job for 

50 or 75 dollars a month or so that was a big boom back then. 

DR. CRAWFORD: And of course TVA came in summer of '33 also. 

MR. CARR: Right. 

DR. CRAWFORD: How did members of the general assembly feel about it? Were 
they trying to do anything about the Depression? Did they 

think they could do anything? 

MR. CARR: Well, I don't think, I don't recall just exactly what the 

reaction was, I think they were all concerned, but I think 

they all, to some extent felt like their hands were tied. There wasn't much 



MR. CARR: 

DR. CRAWFORD: 
MR. CARR: 



26 



they could do. The state didn't have any money so it was just kind of a 
helpless situation until the federal government did move in. President 
Roosevelt did move in and try to get the country hack on its feet again. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Had the loss of state money when the Rogers Caldwell empire 
fell been restored? Was there really much money involved in that? 
MR. CARR: I've forgotten in dollar amounts. As I recall there were 

several million dollars , hut speaking of money back then 
it was a lot of money. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Well, you know, that's true. A million dollars back then 

meant a lot more than a million now. 
MR. CARR: It was a lot of money where a hundred million today, you 

know, is almost peanuts as far as the government is con- 
cerned. I think the total budget — I know in my office in 19^+1 — was about 
$35,000 a year and now I think it runs close to a million dollars on an 
annual basis. I've forgotten what the total budget of the state was back 
in I9J+I. I researched it one day and looked it up. It's just almost un^ 
believable, really. But of course you've got to realize that the state's 
grown and the country's grown and it's taken a lot more money to do the 
things that are necessary to be done to have what we have today in the way 
of education, highways and public health and many other agencies of state 
government . 
DR. CRAWFORD; Well, the state has got about h million people now. And 

a lot of income around the state. 
MR. CARR: Tremendous. 



27 



DR. CRAWFORD; So a million dollars is not as much. What do you remem- 
ber about the administration of Hill McAllister? 
MR. CARR Well, of course, Hill McAllister was serving during the 

what you might call the first years of the Roosevelt admin- 
istration nationally. And what they were trying to implement in the state 
was depending mostly on the federal funds that were coming in to get the 
economy moving again. Farmers as you recall Tor] read about were losing 
their farms and having a real tough time but [they] money provided where 
they could borrow money to bind them over and things seemed to, as I recall, 
start moving fairly good during Governor McAllister's administration. He 
was a very fine man — came from a very fine family here in Davidson County. 
They used to say about Governor McAllister that he had a hearing problem. 
He wore a hearing aid and when someone would go in to visit with him and ask 
him something and maybe he didn't want to respond or maybe didn't want to 
give a direct answer they said he used to kid and say well he'd just turn 
off his hearing aid and then he'd say I didn't hear you. 



THIS IS THE ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH OFFICE OF MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY. 
THIS PROJECT IS "A POLITICAL HISTORY OF TENNESSEE IN CRUMP ERA." THE 
PLACE IS NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, THE DATE IS DECEMBER 2, 1977. THIS IS 
INTERVIEW NUMBER TWO WITH MR. JOE C. CARR. THE INTERVIEW IS BY DR. 
CHARLES W. CRAWFORD, DIRECTOR OF THE MEMEPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY ORAL 
HSITORY RESEARCH OFFICE AND IS TRANSCRIBED BY MRS. BETTY WILLIAMS. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Mr. Carr, I would like to deal a little with 

the period in the late 1930 's and particularly 
the administrations of Prentice Cooper. I know that is where a good deal 
of your interest in state politics extended. Can you tell a little about 
Mr. Cooper's relationship with Mr. Crump before he ran for governor, per- 
haps including a little something about the "immortal thirteen"? 
MR. CARR: Prentice Cooper served in the state senate dur- 

ing the time that Mr. Crump was involved with 
the controversy with Governor Browning to whom he had supported and helped 
elect. Later they disagreed when the legislature met. I never knew just 
exactly what caused the disagreements, but Governor Browning introduced 
legislation to create the unit bill which would greatly curtail the strength 
of the Shelby County organization and was successful in passing it. Of 
course later it was declared invalid by the Supreme Court as I understand 
it. Prentice Cooper, being in the state senate and voting with the Crump 
organization on vital matters that were contrary to Governor Browning. was 
declared a member of the "immortal thirteen" — thirteen senators who voted 
with the Crump organization on issues that Governor Browning was supporting. 



DR. CRAWFORD: I guess their opponents had other names for them. 

MR. CARR: Probably did. You probably couldn't mention them 

in public. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Was this group fairly well publicized, the "im- 

mortal thirteen"? 
MR. CARR: They were as I recall very much so. And after ses- 

sion was over and the next primary campaign — I'm 
not quite sure about the accuracy of this statement, but I think I am correct 
and it could be substantiated by a little research — Scott Fitzhugh of Memphis 
announced that he was going to be a candidate for governor. And a lot of the 
Crump support across the state was very much disturbed with the fact that 
they were fearful that a Crump man from Memphis could not be elected governor. 
I recall that a meeting of some of the leaders of the Crump organization in 
Tennessee was called to Nashville to discuss the situation. It was determined 
after the meeting that Mr. Fitzhugh could not be elected and they said they 
had to look elsewhere for a candidate. Soon after that, and I am not sure 
exactly how much time had elapsed, Prentice Cooper, without too many people 
knowing about it I guess, walked into the newspaper office and handed them his 
announcement th&t he was going to be a candidate for governor of Tennessee. 
Well, this was a big surprise for a lot, and [there] might have [been] some in- 
side that knew about it, but the great majority did not know about it. After 
some conferring, the Crump organization decided that Prentice Cooper would be 
their candidate for governor. They supported him and he ran and was nominated 
and elected. He defeated Governor Browning on his bid for a second term for 



governorship. A lot of people, of course, attribute the fact that Mr. Crump 
supported Cooper because he was one of the immortal thirteen in the senate 
and had a good background of honesty in his hometown of Shelbyville, Bedford 
County, and the vicinity which he had served at one time as the district's 
attorney general. So that was really the beginning of the Prentice Cooper 
era. He was successful in running for governor for three consecutive terms. 
One of the few governors who had been able to accomplish that. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Do you know why they decided that a Memphis can- 

didate could not be elected? 
MR. CARR: Well, there had been a strong feeling of anti- 

Crump across the state by certain newspapers and 
particularly in East Tennessee. They said there was a strong anti-Crump 
feeling because they felt that Crump — they called him a dictator and so forth- 
could generate little support for a Crump supported candidate from Memphis. 
I think that was one of the dominant factors in the final decisions that 
Memphis had better not run a candidate from Shelby County. 

DR. CRAWFORD: And of course they wanted to win. As I understand 

it, Mr. Crump never cared about the governor being 
from Memphis. He wanted to have influence over the governor, but he was 
willing for the governor to be from somewhere else. It sounds like the case 
there. 
MR. CARR: Well, that's possibly true. I'm not aware of that 

feeling of Mr. Crump, but that could possibly be 
true. 



DR. CRAWFORD: Do you know what form the support of Mr. Cooper 

took? Was Mr. Crump able to help him anywhere 
outside of Shelby County? 
MR. CARR: Well, I think the influence that Mr. Crump had 

with the leadership in the various counties, and 
the county leaders at that time was a very positive force in the nomination 
and election of Prentice Cooper. In those days you usually had one or two 
individuals in a county that was considered the leader of that county who 
had leadership and could carry that county. At that particular time the 
Crump organization had key people in various counties who were capable of 
carrying the counties for a particular candidate. That was the days of the 
poll tax and so forth and when you had more of a controlled vote in those 
days than you do in the present time. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Do you know how Governor Cooper himself felt to- 

ward Mr. Crump during this period? 
MR. CARR: Well, I think the Governor had a very kind and 

warm feeling toward Mr. Crump during that period 
because I felt like the type of fellow that Prentice Cooper was, that he 
was grateful that Mr. Crump supported him and I think in many ways tried to 
prove his friendship with Mr. Crump. I don't think that Mr. Crump completely 
dominated every action that Prentice Cooper took, but I think Prentice Cooper 
is very appreciative of the fact that Mr. Crump did support him and [was] 
responsible to a great extent for him being governor of the state of Tenn- 
essee . 



As I recall [in] a conversation with Governor Cooper that Mr. Crump 
never asked him anything unreasonable that he felt that was detrimental 
to the other section of the state. The things that he was interested in 
were confined more to Shelby County. Mr. Crump always felt like they 
were one of the largest counties in the state — paid more, or one-fifth of 
the taxes and so forth — that the were entitled to certain things in Shelby 
County and that was the extent that they wanted to participate. I think 
Governor Cooper recognized that fact when trying to go along with their 
thinking in gaining Memphis their fair share of what they were entitled 
to. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I know that Memphis did comparatively well in 

state goverment at that time in contrast to 
later. They did not do as well after Mr. Crump was gone. 
MR. CARR: Well, they had one or two commissioners at that 

particular time and several other places of de- 
puty commissions and so forth. Jim McCormick, Commissioner of Insurance 
and Banking, as it was in those days, was [a] commissioner from Shelby 
County. Then they had others of leadership. Of course they had the speak- 
er of the senate from Memphis on one or two occasions. I have forgotten 
a number of the key spots they had, but they [had] several people in key 
positions in state government. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did Governor Cooper ever worry about the criti- 

cism that he was doing what Mr. Crump told him to? 
MR. CARR: As I recall I don't think it disturbed him a 



great deal. He never did indicate it to me. He wasn't disturbed about 
it. If he did, he thought he did it in good faith and he "was honorable 
in doing it and it didn't concern him too much. At least that was the 
outward appearance that I got. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Well, Mr. Cooper was a strong independent per- 

son. He might not have been bothered too much 
by criticism. 

MR. CARR: That's true. 

DR. CRAWFORD: And besides he did have the 60,000 or whatever 

number of reasons to appreciate Shelby County. 
Do you know if the men ever had any personal disagreements? I know that 
Prentice Cooper as we have noted was hard to get along with and some people 
found Mr. Crump that way. Did they ever have any trouble as far as you 
know? 

MR. CARR: Not as I recall, but there could have been some 

disagreement about something of a minor nature, 
but I don't think that there was any wide disagreement about any thing 
that I recall or was aware of. It could have been. I don't think Mr. 
Crump ever called the governor or dealt with him too much directly be- 
cause for that fact that he didn't want to be in the position that people 
would say that he was dictating to the governor what he should or should 
not do in that period of time. I think maybe Mr. Crump would deal with 
others that were a part of Cooper's cabinet or organization rather than 
dealing directly with the governor. As far as I know, I took a trip to 



Memphis on two or three occasions with Governor Cooper and visited 

Mr. Crump and it was always very cordial and very warm and very much in 
agreement on most things that I was aware of. Of course there's lots of 
things during that period of time I wasn't really as close to as some of 
the others. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Well, you were with the two men when they were 

together some weren't you? 
MR. CARR: Yes, I was right with them on occasions. 

DR. CRAWFORD: And that gave you a pretty direct view of the 

occasion. Mr. Carr, do you have any recollec- 
tion of the first time you met Mr. Crump? I know you saw him quite a 
number of times, you might not remember the first one. 
MR. CARR: Wo, it was back in the thirties when I first 

met him and I don't recall just exactly the 
time or the exact place. I knew him better during the beginning of 
Cooper's administration. I met in his office on several occasions during 
that period of time, but I don't recall just exactly the first time that 
I did meet him. The late thirties, I believe. I know that we were in 
National Convention where he attended on two or three occasions, at least 
two, in Chicago in 19*+'+ and maybe 19^+0 also. It was during Governor 
Cooper's administration and it extended also into Governor McCord's ad- 
ministration. I recall a few occasions when Governor McCord had meet- 
ings with Mr. Crump. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Can you describe what it was like meeting Mr. 

Crump? I know you went to Memphis on a few oc- 



casions with the governor at least and met him. What do you remember 

about it ? 

MR. CARR: Well, he was an exceptionally warm, cordial 

individual. He had the long wavy hair and 
the bushy eyebrows and wore the glasses that distinguished him from 
most people, I know that his office was on Third and . . . 
DR. CRAWFORD: On Adams I believe. 

MR. CARR: A small building there. We went up on the 

elevator there in the rear and Mr. Crump us- 
ually would, if he didn't meet us at the elevator he would always escort 
us back after we left his office. He would give us a warm good-bye 
and glad you came. He was a very warm type of individual, very articu- 
late in his discussions about issues involving the state or even the na- 
tion during the times I had with him in meetings. He didn't pull any 
punches really. He was for or against something. He was very much de- 
termined to see that that particular position of his was carried out. 
He was a very determined fellow, but he was a very warm type of fellow 
also. And going back I think that was the success of some of his and 
[the] reason why he was successful in Shelby County. You remember he 
had so many things going there for the people in need or the blind. He 
had a boat ride on the river every year for the children, and he had af- 
fairs at the fairground and affairs at Crump Stadium. When his leader- 
ship in precinct and ward organization found people that needed a little 
something — a little less fortunate — they would take care of them in some 



way. So in that manner he was able to develop during that period of time 
a real strong, well-knit organization in Shelby County. Not only among 
the various segments of the society, he also had his eyes on the business 
people in Memphis pretty well and had them solid behind him. Of course 
he ran a good government. They had a low tax base rate over there, and 
they had good government in Shelby County. As far as I knew, they always 
had good men occupying public office in Shelby County. Always had good 
men in the legislature. Exceptionally good men came to the legislature. 
I know the type of people that served in the legislature were high type 
people. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I don't believe Mr. Crump ever tolerated any 

crooks as far as I know. 
MR. CARR : Well, one of the distinguishing marks about the 

Crump organization was that once the man was 
found guilty of any wrong doing, that [was] the end of his association. 
I don't think that was always true maybe as far as misappropriating some- 
thing, but I think there have been instances where on a few occasions 
some good men of the organization disagreed. Wot necessarily with Mr. 
Crump but maybe because of some of those that were associated with Mr. 
Crump fell from grace and were excommunicated, so to speak, from the Crump 
organization. There were a few of those — I don't know how many on a local 
level — that I don't recall. I'm sure there were more than maybe I would 
know about. But there are some that were generally known I guess to most 
of the people in Shelby County and other places not necessarily because 



10 



of Mr. Crump but because of Mr. Crump put too much in the hands of some 

of his lieutenants that others didn ? t agree with. 

DR. CRAWFORD: I believe that happened, I've certainly heard 

that it did. Do you remember anything about 
Mr. Crump's voice that was unusual? How do you describe it? 
MR. CARR: Well, you know its been so long now. As I 

understand it, he had a real strong voice. 
I don't know if you would call it maybe a tenor voice. He always had a 
big smile and a laugh like a Santa Claus laugh. (Laughter) 
DR. CRAWFORD: : He was from Mississippi. Did you notice any- 
thing unusual about his accent, since you were 
from Middle Tennessee, or did it sound normal to you? 
MR. CARR: No, it sounded rather normal to me, but you 

could tell he did have that little Mississippi 
accent that's a little bit different maybe from Middle Tennesseans or 
East Tennesseans. But he was a very warm individual, and I guess on 
occasions, he could be very — when you got down to the nitty-gritty of things- 
could be very tough too. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I believe so. Do you remember what his office 

was like? 
MR. CARR: Well, as I recall he had a large desk. It 

was on the third floor of the office building, 
and the windows were facing the main street there. Was it Adams? 
DR. CRAWFORD: Adams is a cross street. 



11 



MR. CARR: Could it have been Adams and Main? Is it Main 

Street? It was across from the old Farragut 
Hotel. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I think it was on Adams Street but I think it 

was probably Main and Second. Because the 
building is still there, but I might be mistaken about the numbers. 
MR. CARR: His office was oblong. It's been years and 

years since I was there. Ar oblong office, 
but when we would go there for a meeting with him on any occasion he'd 
always have his chairs around in a semicircle, and he would always have 
one or two of his lieutenants with him. Then the conversation with who- 
ever might be with us , the governor and myself or somebody else or who- 
ever was in the party. But one of the characteristics that you would see 
was little notes on different parts of his desk where he had written notes 
apparently to remind .him of certain things , and he would have something 
on top of that note to hold it down — a paperweight or something. You 
might see eight or ten little scratch papars he would have on his desk 
or on the floor beside his chair where he would make notes probably when 
he was checking on something and he didn't want to forget it or lose 
track of it he'd make a note of it and he'd go back and pick them up to 
keep his continuity going on certain subjects he was interested in. 
MR. CRAWFORD: Did he seem to be well organized? 

MR. CARR: Very well — very efficiently organized. He had 

a lady that had been with him for years and, 



12 



I've forgotten her name now, but she was very efficient too. He was a 
very warm type of fellow. Although I didn't go to his office on too 
many occasions I did on several occasions with both Governor Cooper 
and Governor McCord. I went more with Governor McCord possibly than 
with Governor Cooper. I think with Governor Cooper it was more on 
pleasure meetings than it was on maybe business relating to the state. 
I know the time that we visited one of the times with Governor McCord 
was regarding the sales tax. Governor McCord wanted to upgrade the 
teacher's salaries and the educational system in Tennessee. 
DR. CRAWFORD: That was a very important meeting for the state 

of Tennessee, Mr. Carr. That was what start- 
ed the sales tax law to raise the Tennessee revenues. 

MR. CARR: That was the beginning. It was Governor Mc- 

Cord and Mr. Frank Hobbs, who was Chairman of 
the Democratic Committee at that time, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, now de- 
ceased. He was one in our party and the Governor and myself. There 
could have been another one, I've forgotten who else could have been in 
the party. We met with Mr. Crump at the old Farragut Hotel across the 
street from his office in a suite of rooms that was attended by Mr. E. 
W. Hale, who was Chairman of the County Court of Shelby County at that 
time. Mr. Frank Ahlgren, who was editor of the Memphis Commercial Ap- 
peal, and I think General Will Gerber and one or two others were there. 
I have forgotten how many others were there on that occasion. The 
Governor presented his program to Mr. Crump and the main meat of it was 



13 



in order to do what he wanted to do and what needed to be done in Tennessee 
at that particular time for education that the only source of revenue that 
could produce it would be a sales tax. There was much discussion — long, 
long discussion, friendly discussion with those people there present all 
expressing their views and so forth. At the end of the day after an al- 
most all _ day meeting Mr. Crump related their position on the sales tax in 
that they had opposed the sales tax during Governor McAlister's administra- 
tion. They had been opposed the sales tax, and now they could not support 
a sales tax, [but] they would not oppose it. While they couldn't support 
it, they would not oppose it — they couldn't vote for it. As I recall the 
way it ended, [they] more or less said we'll sit on our hands — we can't 
vote for it, but we won't oppose it. 

In the final analysis the sales tax passed after a bitter fight in the 
legislature. Jim Cummings of Woodbury, who was in the legislature at that 
time, and others in the rural block which had substantial vote and voice in 
the legislation during that period of time (or they called themselves the 
rural block) were able to pass it only with the idea that the (small) count- 
ies like Mr. Jim Cummings' county of Cannon got more out of the surplus of 
the sales tax than they were getting from all the other taxes combined at 
that particular time because of the formula that was passed originally in 
the sales tax that has later been changed. Some of the rural counties like 
Cannon and smaller counties were just really reaping great benefits from 
the surplus of the sales tax [under] the formula that they were using at 
that particular time. As I said it has been changed and I'm not for sure 



Ik 



now what the formula is, but that's one of the reasons that they were able 
to pass the sales tax. At the last minute, it was just a hare enough vote 
to pass it, by making that concession. I think Governor McCord finally 
made a concession, a compromise with them. 

I know a lot of times politics results in compromises, and they com- 
promised with them and gave the rural counties what they wanted. Most of 
the rural legislators felt like the only way they could go back home and 
face their constituency would be to say, "Well look what we got for you." 
And they were successful in that. And the rural counties did benefit. A 
lot of counties were able to build school houses and other benefits that 
there wasn't any other possible way of securing if it hadn't been for the 
way they passed sales tax at that particular time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I'll try to talk with Senator Cummings about 

that also. 
MR. CARR: Well, he can probably give you a little more 

detail, inside information on it better that I 
can. I know Mr. Damon Headden, who is now deceased, from Lake County 
which is a small rural West Tennessee county. You are familiar with up 
in the northwestern part of our state? He was one of the leaders also 
as I recall. A lot of the rural legislators, because of that benefit that 
the rural counties would get, were able to pass the sales tax. 
DR. CRAWFORD: How long has the rural block been functioning? 

MR. CARR: Well, they've been functioning for a long time. 

You know the state was supposed to redistrict 
itself every so many years, every ten years I believe, but because of the 



15 



rural block and the legislature not wanting to leave the rural legislators, 
and not wanting to lose any of their strength, they were able to hold off 
any movement in that regard until later years or recent years. It's been 
twenty years, I guess, when the famous one man, one vote deal came out and 
that was the Baker versus Carr decision that was finally approved in the 
1950 ' s or somewhere in there. Memphian Charlie Baker was the Charles Baker, 
and I was the Joe Carr in the case, and [it was] rather a landmark decision. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes sir. Well, the rural block was influential 

for quite awhile, but before you got the sales 
tax through under Governor McCord with their help Mr. Crump had to approve 
it. Do you know why he had been opposed to the sales tax before? 
MR. CARR: Doctor, I think he gave us the reason that he 

had never supported the sales tax. I don't 
know whether he thought the imposition on those less able to pay might 
have been one of the reasons that he was not a supporter of the sales tax. 
Of course you know that under our constitution we are forbidden an income 
tax and I think, because of that you couldn't have an income tax. The 
land tax had been repealed and they felt they didn't want to impose a 
sales tax on the lower income group families. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Well, that had left the state without an in- 

come source, hadn't it? 
MR. CARR: Practically depleted the income for the state 

really. At that particular time and to some 



16 



extent today the great need for education was so demanding that some- 
thing had to be done. Teachers were demanding it and education associ- 
ations were behind it, of course. Since then, the sales tax has been 
raised on two or three different occasions — couple occasions I know de- 
finitely. Not only that but they have given the cities and municipali- 
ties an option of raising it also. I think now it is as high as 5 or 
6% of a total. 
DR. CRAWFORD: And they are using that, at least some of the 

cities are. I know Memphis is. 
MR. CARR: Well, it is surprising that most of the cities 

and municipalities that have had a referendum 
on sales tax, I don't know, but I would guess that possibly 95% of them 
have passed it. 

I think they made a pretty good case of needing 

the money. 

Oh yeah. 

What year was that passed? 

19^7. 

That sounds about right. McCord's last full 
year in office was 19^8, wasn't it? 
Right. Governor Browning cuiie in '^9 while 
that was in ' k^ . 
DR. CRAWFORD: Uh huh. Do you know why that meeting was held 



DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 

DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 

DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 



17 



in the Farragut Hotel instead of Mr. Crump's building? 

MR. CARR: I think they had this suite there that was large 

enough to accommodate those that were in attend- 
ance plus the fact that we had lunch there and lunch was served in the room. 
And it might have been because of convenience or it could have been that 
Mr. Crump didn't want to have it in his office saying that he was having 
dictating out of his office what was going to happen in Tennessee. But he 
had Mr. Hale and Frank Ahlgren, who was at that time publisher or editor 
of The Commercial Appeal , present to witness what went on and what was said. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Mr. Ahlgren is one of the people that I have 

interviewed on tape too. 
MR. CARR: Did he have anything to say about this particular 

meeting? 
DR. CRAWFORD: He remembered it sir, but I am going to have to 

go back to him for details because mainly we were 
talking about other things at the time I interviewed him. So we will have 
to go back to it. Do you know if anyone else that attended that meeting 
is living now? 

MR. CARR: I sure don't. Mr. Hobbs is deceased. The Gover- 

nor is deceased. Mr. Hale is deceased. Francis 
Andrews and Will Gerber are both deceased. I don't know of a single one 
except Frank Ahlgren that is living today. Could be some others. 
DR. CRAWFORD: There were several people there. 

MR. CARR: There were a dozen at least. 



18 



DR. CRAWFORD: A dozen? 

MR. CARR: I would say so. I know the Governor and myself 

and Frank Hobbs. We might have had another one 
in our party and that would be four. I'd say approximately ten or twelve 
people were there. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I believe the Governor had asked for the meeting, 

hadn't he? 
MR. CARR: Yes. I think Governor McCord realized if he was 

going to be able to carry out any of his commit- 
ments, particularly in the educational field, that he was going to have 
to have the only source of revenue that would be a sales tax, and that to 
enact a sales tax he was either going to have to have the copperation of 
the Memphis organization or he was going to have some assurance from them 
that they wouldn't fight it, which was finally the outcome of it. I don.'t 
recall any of them that voted for it, but they didn't fight it. It kinda 
boiled down to that it was from the rural areas that when we compromised 
in the final analysis that some of the rural counties would get so much 
above any surplus. They didn't know what the surplus would be at that 
particular time, but as it turned out the surplus was quite a bit and 
these small counties really benefitted greatly by it. They built fine 
schools, which was fine, but as I say the formula has been changed so much 
si ce then I don't know what the formula is today as it was originally. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Do you know who worked out that agreement to give 

the surplus to the rural block counties? 



19 



MR. CARR: I think you will find really it had to be both 

house and senate and I have forgotten who was 
involved in the senate at that particular time. I know Mr. Jim Cummings 
and Damon Headden were the two in the house that were the strong advo- 
cates of it. I wish I could recall who in the senate at that particular 
time was involved in it, but I think there was more of a question of 
whether or not the house would go along with it because of their large 
membership than in the senate because the senate is smaller — thirty-three 
members . 
DR. CRAWFORD: Your meeting with Mr. Crump about the sales tax 

would have been about 19^6, wouldn't it? 
MR. CARR: As I recall the legislature met in January and 

I recall it was in December. It was before 
Christmas of course. I believe it was in late November or early part 
of December. 

DR. CRAWFORD: About this time of year? 

MR. CARR: About this time of year. It would be thirty 

years ago, wouldn't it? 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes sir. Do you remember from your meeting with 

Mr. Crump what part his lieutenants had in the 
meeting? I know somethimes he would have people there, do you remember 
who was usually present and what they would do? 
MR. CARR: During the time that I recall that we met with 

Mr. Crump would be General Gerber, Francis An- 



20 



drews, Guy Joiner, who was Sheriff of Shelby County at that time. I'm 
not for sure that maybe Senator Vann Maxwell might have been there. Van 
was in the senate at that particular time and could have been present. 
There might have been one or two others of the legislature on that parti- 
cular occasion, but usually on the other meeting as I recall it either 
would have General Gerber, Mr. Andrews, and Mr. Joiner, who were some of 
the top lieutenants in the organization at that particular time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: In your close connection with the legislature 

you saw the Shelby County delegation work. Mr. 
Francis Andrews was the manager up here part of the time and Mr. Gerber 
part of the time? 
MR. CARR: Then Guy Joiner part of the time. Going back 

a few years prior to that Mr. Frank Rice, who 
was the first lieutenant under Mr. Crump in the thirties or early thir- 
ties and later it was Francis Andrews and General Gerber, and then Sher- 
iff Joiner. They always stayed at the Hermitage Hotel; they had a head- 
quarters there. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Well, they had the Shelby County delegation. 

Was there one person along also to generally 
manage things? 

MR. CARR: Yeah, they always had someone here that was in 

daily contact with Mr. Crump — what went on today 
and what was going on tomorrow. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Was he usually one of the members of the General 



21 



Assembly or somebody else? 

MR. CARR: He was usually somebody like Francis Andrews or 

Guy Joiner or General Gerber. 
DR. CRAWFORD: All of the Shelby County delegation stayed at 

the Maxwell House? 
MR. CARR: After that they did, but after the middle and 

late thirties from then on under Mr. Crump's 
leadership they stayed at the Hermitage. I think earlier in the late 
twenties they did stay at the Maxwell House. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Did they always vote together? 

MR. CARR: As far as I knew back in that period they always 

voted together. As I understood, they had meet- 
ings every morning on every piece of legislation that was going to be 
voted on that day of a general nature and they would all be instructed 
how they were going to vote and they all voted as a unit. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Well, that has changed. Now the Shelby County 

delegation hardly ever votes together any more. 
MR. CARR: That's the big change to what it is today. Of 

course back then you didn't have the home rule 
legislation that you have today and a lot times there would not be legis- 
lation — local legislation — that might not directly effect Shelby County, 
but might be friend of Shelby County's some area of Middle Tennessee or 
of East Tennessee. Some county might have some particular legislation 
which could happen occasionally, of local legislation that might have some 



22 



opposition to. Shelby County boys will usually go along with their 
friends, you know, that supported them on local legislation before you 
had the home rule legislation passed. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I talked with some of the people who worked out 

arrangements with Shelby County legislative de- 
legation and had heard that they had meetings every morning for the in- 
structions for voting for the day. Do you remember the sequence of 
managers who took care of these details? Was Frank Rice the first? 
MR. CARR: Frank Rice was the first one as I recall. Then 

after Mr. Rice died, I think maybe I'm not sure, 
but it seems to me like Guy Joiner was next and then maybe Francis Andrews 
and General Gerber. Maybe both or all three of them were here. But in the 
latter part, as I recall, it was Francis Andrews and General Gerber. Maybe 
Francis Andrews more in the latter part of Mr. Crump's life than it was the 
others. But Mr. Frank Rice, in the early thirties anyway, was the first 
lieutenant . 
DR. CRAWFORD: Did people believe generally that they received 

their directions from Mr. Crump? 
MR. CARR: At that time they did. It was generally known. 

I think the newspapers made no pretense that 
they didn't receive instructions that the members themselves would say, 
"Well, I've got to be at a meeting at J: 30 to see how we are going to 
vote today." (Laughter) I am relating particularly general legislation 
affecting the whole state that didn't ever have a roll call back then. 



23 
Well, you have a roll call — one of the fast-type roll calls they used to 
have before they had the sophisticated mechianism that they have now on 
the hill that you push a button and vote. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Where it registered on the board? 

MR. CARR: Yes. When I was clerk up there, we just had 

to bellow, they didn't even have an amplifier. 
I'd get up there and holler to call roll call in the house. There were 
ninety-nine names and when you do that several times a day in that great 
big hall up there, it was almost like plowing. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Sort of like calling hogs! 

MR. CARR: Yeah, right f 

DR. CRAWFORD: Governor Cooper enjoyed the support of Mr. Crump 

all the way though but of course, he could not 
succeed himself the fourth time. So, in 1944 it was time for someone 
else. Do you remember anything about McCord's first campaign? 
MR. CARR: Yes, I know that Governor McCord was serving 

in Congress at that time and he was from the 
Old Fourth District. I guess it has been divided up into different 
counties now since then. I don't know if Walter Chandler was serving as 
a Congressman from Shelby County at that particular time or not. I be- 
lieve he was, but I'm not sure. Anyway when it became time to elect 
someone to run as a successor to Prentice Cooper who couldn't succeed 
himself under the constitution, several names had been mentioned. 
So I think Governor McCord had a desire to return to Tennsssee. He was 



;>h 



the type of fellow who loved being at home. I don't think he was too 
crazy about Washington, or was Mrs. McCord either really. I think we'd 
have to check this that maybe Mayor Chandler or Congressman Chandler at 
that time had a lot to do with proposing that Jim McCord be considered. 
I know that Governor Cooper asked me one time if I would get. up a lunch- 
eon for Governor McCord and friend at the Hermitage Hotel. Governor 
McCord came down and had the luncheon there. I've forgotten the details 
of it. 

DR. CRAWFORD: He was congressman? 

MR. CARR: He was congressman. He came down and at that 

particular meeting it was decided that Congress- 
man McCord was going to be candidate for the Democratic nomination for 
governor. Later after he announced Mr. c^ump h s support. 
MR. CRAWFORD: Had Mr. Crump had a man at the luncheon you ar- 

ranged at the [Hermitage]'.' 
MR. CARR: That I am not sure. I kinda doubt it. I'm not 

positive. I believe maybe it was more a governor's 
cabinet, but I am not sure. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Do you suppose someone checked with Mr. Crump? 

MR. CARR: Well, I imagine he had wide knowledge of it. 

DR. CRAWFORD: And you arranged the luncheon at the Maxwell 

House? 
MR. CARR: No, at the Hermitage. 

DR. CRAWFORD: At the Hermitage. 



:", 



MR. CARR: After that I went into the service. I wasn't 

even here during the campaign. 
DR. CRAWFORD: 'kk. 

MR. CARR: Yes. The Governor was elected and served until 

he ran for a third term and was defeated in '^8. 
Governor Browning defeated him for his third term. 
DR? CRAWFPRD" Why did they selettt Jim McCord to run? 

MR. CARR: Well, I think he had a fairly good reputation. 

No, he had a good reputation and I think he had 
a desire to run for governor andi he was fairly well-known because he was 
a good speaker and had "been an auctioneer and had quite a hit of follow- 
ing among the rural parts of the state. I'm not sure. I wish you would 

check on this with Walter Chandler, if that is who ne [McCord] was serv- 

[by] 
ing with in congress at that time and maybe other means that I don't 

know about. And it was agreed that he would be a strong candidate. I 
don't recall of anybody else at that particular time who was seriously 
considering it because a lot of the younger people were gone. The war 
was going on, you know, and I think they felt like that maybe he would 
be the strongest candidate at that particular time, as it turned out 
to be. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I think the experience of being an auctioneer 

was pretty important in those days when pub- 
lic speaking mattered more. 

MR. CARR: Well, he was an excellent speaker, and Governor 

McCord was not an educated man. He was a self- 



26 



educated man. I'm not so sure he ever graduated from high school. But 
he was well-mannered and well-read and had been mayor of Lewisburg and 
had been very successful and had served in congress and had a good back- 
ground.. I think of all of these circumstances, they felt like he could 
do a good job as governor, plus his ability to speak and his friends 
across the state and particularly in the big district that he repre- 
sented in congress. 
DR. CRAWFORD: You know that procedure of selecting was 

interesting, Mr. Carr. Very often in Ten- 
nessee's history just a few people have really run the state, and here 
you had a handful of people sitting down at a lunch at one hotel deciding 
who would do it! Do you know whose idea it was first to call everyone 
to lunch? I know you arranged it. 
MR. CARR: I really don't, unless it was the friends of 

the governor and the Crump organization and 
others decided that was the best way to do it. I don't know whether it 
was any effort to forstall the announcement of anybody else that might 
be interested in running for governor at that particular time. I don't 
recall that one was. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Do you know if it was fairly early in the year? 

MR PARP • 

ort.i\rv. Yeah. I went into service in April of that year so 

I know it was fairly early. It had to be in around February or March 

or something around that date. I don't recall. I'll have to go back and 

research it a little to find whether anybody else that belonged to that 

political faction was interested in running for governor or whether 



27 



this might close the door. You know, they'd say, "Well, they are going 

to support Jim McCord and that's it." 

DR. CRAWFORD: About how long after your luncheon was it 

that Mr. Crump announced his organization's 

choice? 

MR. CARR: I think after Governor McCord made his an- 

nouncement that he would seek the nomination, 

it wasn't just a, matter of short time that Mr. Crump announced that he 

would support Governor McCord, and that he thought he would make a good 

governor. 

DR. CRAWFORD: I think that would have pretty well intimidated 

much opposition. 

MR. CARR: Well, I think it would. Certainly if I had 

been in a group seeking nomination I'd give 

second thoughts about it that dayJ (Laughter) At that particular time. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Do you have any idea of how many people now 

you arranged to come to that luncheon? 

MR. CARR: We used to have Monday luncheons for the 

cabinet every Monday. I seems to me now 

(now again, I'm not sure this was the case) it might have been or could 

have been at one of those Monday luncheons that the Governor had every 

Monday. He always had a cabinet meeting on Monday — luncheon somewhere 

either at the hotel or one of the other eating places. It could have 

been that this was the cabinet or it could have been that some others 

were there. 



28 



DR. CRAWFORD: At these luncheons or meetings* usually when you 

have a cabinet together there are a few people 
or, of course, perhaps one person who is the strongest member present. I 
know that's been true in quite a few administrations. Do you remember 
any people particularly [who] stood out that were noticeably effective 
and respected in the Prentice Cooper era? 
MR. CARR: Well, it's hard to recall all the members of 

the cabinet at that particular time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: If you can't remember them they probably weren't 

the ones. 
MR.. CARR: I know Mr. John Hardin, who had managed Cooper's 

campaign and was the state treasurer and would 
carry the constitutional officers at that time, while they weren't what 
you might call members of the cabinet, they were always invited to attend 
the cabinet meeting because they were, you know, a vital part of the ad- 
ministration. That procedure has changed somewhat in the last few years. 
I don't think the cabinet officers today (i mean the constitutional offi- 
cers) attend cabinet meetingswith the governor and as they did back then 
and did up through Clement and Ellington administrations. John Hardin, 
being the campaign manager for Cooper, had a voice and there were others. 
But really, the Governor himself pretty much directed the conversation 
and usually the questions were ,what went on in your department ,or what 
is affecting your department ,or what could be done in your department 
that we need to know about or any particular problems affecting it that 



29 



should be brought up and things of that nature you know mostly admini- 
strative discussions °f what goes on in your department and they might 
call upon everybody around the table to give what's happening over here 
in education, what's happening in the public relations department, pu- 
blic works department, highway department, or down the line. If some- 
body had a particular problem, they discussed it and actually worked to 
some advantage because everybody knew what was going on in each other's 
department or some particular problem that could be discussed about var- 
ious things that went on at that particular time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I can see how it would be very helpful. 

MR. CARR: It was like a board of directors of a big cor- 

poration or a big bank or something that you 
have every week or every month for the board of directors to find out 
what was going on. That was the essence of the whole thing. Sit down 
and have lunch and discuss the problem that we were facing in various 
departments or what might be going on in the state at that particular 
time that we might need some special attention to. We might could help 
if there was something wrong that should be corrected or things of that 
nature. I think it proved very helpful. 

DR. CRAWFORD: I would guess that of the governors that you've 

seen, some of them are more democratic and some 
are more dictorial in dealing with everyone around them . How did Cooper 
rate? 
MR. CARR: He dominated things pretty well, possibly more 



30 



than . . . Well I don't think you can say that he was dictatorial to the 
extent that he led with an iron fist or something like that at this parti- 
cular meeting, but he was pretty strict and was all business and we're 
not here to have a big time. This is strictly business meeting and we'll 
play some other time. But let's attend to business while we are here, you 
see. 

DR. CRAWFORD: When it was arranged for Governor McCord to run, 

then you went away for your term in service. So 
you missed the ' kk campaign. 



THIS IS THE ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH OFFICE OF MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY. 
THIS PROJECT IS "AN ORAL HISTORY OF TENNESSEE POLITICS." THE PLACE 
IS NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE. THE DATE IS AUGUST 6, 19 78, AND THE INTER- 
VIEW IS WITH MR. JOE C. CARR. THE INTERVIEW IS BY DR. CHARLES W. 
CRAWFORD, DIRECTOR OF THE MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY ORAL HISTORY RE- 
SEARCH OFFICE. TRANSCRIBED BY CAROL LANEY . INTERVIEW III 

DR. CRAWFORD: Mr. Carr, the last time we talked about Ten- 

nessee politics in the 1940' s in the days of 
Governor Jim McCord when you were active in state government. I would 
like today if we could get on to events after Mr. McCord left office 
and Gordon Browning was elected again in 1948. Can you tell me anything 
about the situation in Mr. McCord' s administration toward the end 
toward 1948? Do you know if he thought about running again. 
MR. CARR: Yes, Dr. Crawford, he considered running again, 

which would, of course, have been for a third 
term. Prentice Cooper had served three consecutive two-year terms and 
so had Governor Austin Peay served three terms. Of course, Governor 
Peay, as you know, died while in his third term and that was before the 
constitutional convention changed the term to four years. And Governor 
McCord decided to seek a third term. There were some events that later 
happened that I think maybe changed the course of events to some extent 
that were very frustrating to some extent to Governor McCord because of 
the failure of the political organization in Shelby County in '48 to sup- 
port then United States Senator Tom Stewart for reelection. [This] caused 
considerable division among the organization in Tennessee at that time, 



2 
[This was] the organization of Governor McCord and Senator Stewart, that 
later people thought maybe had an effect of defeating not only Governor 
McCord but of defeating Senator Stewart for reelection. 

DR. CRAWFORD: How closely were the two men's political activ- 

ities related — Senator Stewart's and Governor 
McCord' s? 
MR. CARR: Well, they were very closely related because 

most of the organizations throughout the state 
and on the county level were the same people involved with both men, 
politically speaking. And organization-wise those counties were pretty 
much the same as they had been for several years prior to that. And 
when the Memphis organization decided that they were not going to sup- 
port Senator Stewart for reelection, then that caused disaffection among 
a lot of the Stewart supporters and caused a division, so to speak, in 
the ranks of the organization of the various counties which of course, 
led to the defeat of both men. 

Now, Governor Browning had served as governor and he was also fair- 
ly fresh out of World War II where he had served with distinction in 
Europe and came home as a veteran. And of course his own strength in 
previous campaigns in Tennessee and previous public, service was consid- 
erable and a division in the organization at that particular time had a 
great amount of impact on the defeat, both maybe, of Governor McCord and 
Senator Stewart. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Do you know why Mr. Crump decided not to support 



3 

Senator Tom Stewart. 
MR. CARR: Dr. Crawford, there has been a lot of discussion 

about that over a period of time. I think there 
were several factors maybe that were responsible for it. A lot of people 
back at that time, particularly in the Crump organization, didn't think 
that Senator Stewart paid as close attention, politically, to Mr. Crump 
in Shelby County and he should have because they felt like in Shelby 
County they were responsible for Senator Stewart being elected as United 
States Senator because of the majority that they had given him when he ran 
for the Senate. As I recall he went to Shelby County several thousand 
votes behind and Memphis gave him the majority that elected him. 

There were on occasions that I recall conversation with people down 
there that Senator Stewart did not pay very close attention to Shelby 
County, particularly in patronage matters. Some of them were minor, some 
of them were major I guess to the people, to Mr. Crump and his organi- 
zation. 

I've understood that Mr. Will Gerber who was attorney general in 
Shelby County had some disaffection for Senator Stewart because of his 
failure to pay proper attention to Shelby County. 

And I think that Mr. Crump and, of course, Mr. Me em an , who was pub- 
lisher of the Memphis Press Scimitar , were at odds. I recall one time 
particularly that Mr. Crump was very upset with an editorial that was 
in the Press Scimitar , but I don't recall the contents of the editorial. 
But I know Mr. Crump was very upset because Senator Stewart had the edi- 
torial inserted into the Congressional Record. Senator Stewart called 



4 
Mr. Meeman one of the South 's great publishers and there, of course, 
was the bitterness between the Crump organizaiton and Mr. Crump person- 
ally. Mr. Meeman didn't set well with Mr. Crump. 

And I think there were other things. I heard on one occasion that 
there were some appointments to West Point, that of course the senator 
at that time had the power to appoint or recommend rather, and they 
weren't consulted. I think there were a lot of things of that nature 
maybe because of the organizational setup they had in Shelby County and 
they felt they were entitled to a little more consideration from Senator 
Stewart. With the final analysis they decided they were not going to, 
under the circumstances, support Senator Stewart for reelection — and 
did not support him. They supported Mr. Mitchell, who was from Cooke- 
ville, Tennessee, a very able and fine gentleman, a fine judge but [who] 
did not have the statewide recognition. 

Then when Congressman Kefauver came on the scene and made the race, 
the division was that Senator Kefauver was elected and I think that had 
a great deal, maybe not the total reason, why both Senator Stewart and 
Governor McCord were defeated. I don't recall exactly the vote at that 
particular time, I don't have it available right with me. It was a fair- 
ly close race, but the organization set up across the state was very 
much divided. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Why do you think that Mr. Crump disliked Estes 

Kefauver? 
MR. CARR: Well, that's a little difficult to. . . 



5 
DR. CRAWFORD: Do you suppose he really believed Kefauver had 

Communist ties? 
MR. CARR: Well, at that particular time I think Mr. Crump 

thought maybe that Senator Kefauver was too lib- 
eral maybe for his thinking and he had ties that didn't particularly fit 
in with Tennessee and maybe his connections with some of those that Mr. 
Crump didn't particularly care about at that particular time. There were 
several factors, maybe just for the reason that he was pretty bitterly 
opposed to Senator Kefauver. When he mentioned the coon you know, and 
Senator Kefauver adopted the coonskin cap as his emblem of headgear which 
seemed to be a big plus for Senator Kefauver. 
DR. CRAWFORD: That ended up helping him a great deal. How did 

Mr. Crump deal with Browning's candidacy in '48? 
Was Mr. Crump less bitter toward Browning in '48 than he had been ten 
years before? 
MR. CARR: As I recall, Dr. Crawford, he was less bitter 

toward Governor Browning at that time. One of 
the reasons could have been, and I don't recall vividly and I would have 
to go back and do a little research myself, the fact that Browning had 
served with distinction in World War II and had come out of the service. 
I guess Mr. Crump was smart enough and wise enough not to be too criti- 
cal with Governor Browning because he was fresh out of the service, or 
fairly fresh out of serving his country and probably felt maybe that 
Governor McCord because of the service he had rendered and his ability 
could take care of himself and succeed himself as governor of the state. 



6 

He was paying more attention to electing the United States senator 
than he was to giving his attentions to the governorship and he was more 
determined maybe to defeat Senator Kefauver. He didn't think that Sen- 
ator Stewart with the record that he had up there and the attention that 
he had given to Shelby County was the man who could do it. And he was 
determined to try to find a candidate that could do it. That's when 
they finally agreed on Mitchell to run as a candidate and they paid quite 
a bit of attnetion, of course, to defeating Senator Kefauver. 

I'm not positive, but I've heard not too long after the campaign 
had gotten underway that Mr. Crump had realized maybe that they had made 
a mistake and that they should have stayed with Tom Stewart. Mr. Frank 
Hobbs, who was chairman of the State Democratic Committee at that parti- 
cular time and was very closely associated with the organization across 
the state and who was a strong friend of Senator Stewart, as many of us 
were, had been approached with the idea of withdrawing John Mitchell from 
the campaign, but it was too far along. And, as I understand, they said, 
"No. If anybody gets Mr. Mitchell out of the race it will have to be 
somebody beside me," meaning Mr. Hobbs or someone now that I can't verify. 
Mr. Hobbs is deceased. 

I think some of them thought that Mr. Crump realized that they had 
made a mistake and it was going to be a very difficult situation to defeat 
Senator Kefauver and at the same time elect the ticket of Mitchell and Mc- 
Cord. It caused a great deal of confusion across the state among the organ- 
ization that had been pretty intact for several years. For that reason the 



def eatof both Jim McCord and Tom Stewart and John Mitchell was. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Was there a meeting that you went to concerning 

selecting a candidate before that campaign start- 
ed in Shelby County? 
MR. CARR: Well, there were two or three meetings held prior 

to the final selection of a candidate. I atten- 
ded a couple or three meetings and there were other meetings that were 
held, I think, that Mr. Herbert Walters, who was later United State Senator 
and very prominent in the political picture at that particular time, and 
Mr. Lonnie Owens and Senator McKellar himself who were all interested in 
seeing the organization kept intact. But Mr. Crump's decision was that 
they were not going to support Tom Stewart. And [in] the one or two meet- 
ings that I attended he was very firm in his determination that he would 
not support Tom Stewart. And we were all trying to convince him that Tom 
Stewart could be reelected. I remember one occasion that he said he didn't 
think you could pull him through with a forty mule team borax like they used 
to advertise on the old borax soap or soap suds or whatever it was back in 
those days. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Yes, I've heard it on the radio. 

MR. CARR: For that reason he was very determined that they 

have a candidate against Senator Stewart. And of 
course, it came up with Senator John Mitchell who all of them thought 
would be a strong candidate. He was a very fine man. Nobody could be crit- 
ical of him. And it was unfortunate really because the judge was a very 
fine man. Consequently you defeated — or I don't say that it was — they all 



8 



could have been elected, but you defeated Governor Jim McCord, you de- 
feated Tom Stewart, you defeated John Mitchell. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Selecting a candidate was very important then 

because it all took place before the Democratic 
primary and the general election didn't amount to very much then, did it? 



Not too much, no. Not a great deal as I recall. 

And the meetings were mainly meetings between 

party leaders, weren't they? 

That's true. That's right. 

Except for Mr. Crump, did the party leaders 

generally feel that Mr. Stewart would be the 



MR. CARR: 
DR. CRAWFORD : 

MR. CARR: 
DR. CRAWFORD: 

strongest candidate? 

MR. CARR: I don't think that there's any question that a 

great majority of the leaders across the state 
felt that Tom Stewart would be the strongest candidate. There were a 
few, but I think generally speaking the great majority of people across 
the state at that particular time thought Tom Stewart would be the strong- 
est candidate. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Why do you think Judge Mitchell did not do better 

than he did? 
MR. CARR: Well, I think one of the reasons, John Mitchell 

was not known too much outside of his own area 
across the state and had not received a great deal of publicity newspaper- 
wise, while Senator Stewart was and Senator Kefauver was and had become 
pretty well-known by that time generally acrorss the state because of his 
service in the Congress and his stand on certain things that made him 



9 
fairly prominent back in those days. It was just a situation that caused 
the county organizations to be divided. Some of them went so far as to 
get mad enough that they crossed over and would support McCord and maybe 
Tom Stewart and some of them went to Estes Kefauver. So, it was just a 
question organizationwise of splitting it all up and that was, of course, 
to the advantage of Governor Browning and Estes Kefauver. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Do you remember what kind of campaigner Estes 

Kefauver was that year? 
MR. CARR: Well, Estes was always very deliberate. He was- 

n't the oratorical type of campaigner that Gover- 
nor Browning was. But he was a quiet type of fellow that could mix and 
mingle among the crowd. And particularly he was very effective with the 
women vote because he always had something kind to say about them and pat 
them on the hand and say something that would be appealing to them. 

He also had a good organization that would, when he went into a coun- 
ty or into a meeting, he had someone with him who would recognize people 
there that would take names down and in a few days they would get a let- 
ter back saying — "Dear Bill or Dear John, I enjoyed seeing you recently 
at such and such a meeting and look forward to seeing you again in the 
future and anytime that I can be of any assistance to you, let me know. 
Sincerely, Estes." That was very effective and they did that quite a bit 
across the state. I think Estes endeared himself to a lot of people by 
his quiet, sincere type of campaigning that he did across Tennessee at 
that particular time. He wasn't that flamboyant type of campaigner. He 
moved very slowly and deliberately among people. He was a good speaker, 
but he wasn't that oratorical type speaker that Governor Browning was. 



10 
or even Jim McCord. He was very effective though. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I read somewhere that sometimes at night 

before he went to sleep he would dictate sev- 
enty letters or so to people he had met during the day. Does that sound 
right? 
MR. CARR: That's it exactly. I remember on occasion 

when something would happen in my family, I 
would get a note from him, maybe a death or a wedding or something like 
that and he would write you a note. Or if he had been with you on occa- 
sion where he had been in a party or meeting where you were, he'd write 
you a note which was very effective. People appreciated that type of 
thing. And they were very effective in doing that. I understood they 
would write letters to people graduating from high school or college and 
keep in touch well with his people. It was very effective and it paid 
off for him. 
DR. CRAWFORD: It certainly did. Do you remember what kind of 

campaigner Gordon Browning was in 1948? 
MR. CARR: Well, I think he was a very effective campaigner, 

although I think he had began to lose to some 
extent that vigor that he had in earlier campaigns. But he was still the 
old type, you might say "stump speaker" that in a sense kind of faded out. 
When he and Frank Clement locked horns in 1952, you had two of the finest 
speakers, I guess, that we've had in Tennessee. And Governor McCord was 
a very fine speaker, a very fluent speaker. Of course, prior to that 
you had a lot of very effective speakers, but they were two of the finest, 



11 

I guess, in recent history Frank Clement and Gordon Browning. Jim McCord 

was a fine speaker also. 

DR. CRAWFORD: How was Jim McCord 's speaking different from Gor- 

don Browning's? 
MR. CARR: Well, Gordon Browning's was more of the--I don't 

know just how you would explain it — but he was a 
great orator and he had a way of expressing himself in a different type 
of tone maybe than Governor McCord. Governor McCord was the type that 
could paint the sky blue you know, and that type of thing and what a beau- 
tiful day and what a wonderful day and time to be 1 iving and it was very 
effective. But Gordon Browning was the type, the bulldog type, take an 
issue and really hammer away at it effectively and so was Frank Clement. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Do you remember any special issues that Gordon 

Browning spoke about in '48? 
MR. CARR: I'd have to go back and do a little research 

on that. I'm not sure that the tax situation 
wasn't to some extent an issue back in those days because you know Gov- 
ernor McCord had passed the sales tax and I'm not so sure that was a big 
issue, but it could have been. I'm sorry to say I'd have to go back and 
do a little research to find out just exactly what the real issues were. 

Back in those times the Crump organization was always an issue of 
bossism. I don't know how much of an issue that Governor Browning made 
of the Crump issue back then. 

DR. CRAWFORD: He did speak against the Crump issue. 

MR. CARR: Yes, right. 



12 



DR. CRAWFORD: Do you think Browning would have made a good de- 

bater? 

MR. CARR: Yes, I believe he would have. I don't recall if 

they had any face to face debates back then, 

or whether they did or did not. I don't believe they did really. 



DR. CRAWFORD: 
MR. CARR: 



MR. CARR: 
DR. CRAWFORD 
MR. CARR: 



I don't know of any. 

But he would have been a very effective debater 

with anyone, 1 guess. I don't think they ever 

came about. But it would have been very inter- 
esting. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Did you ever see Estes Kefauver campaigning 

with his coonskin cap? 

Oh yeah. 

How would he do that? 

Well, he would just move around through the 

crowd with his coonskin cap on and he would 
always get a lot of applause among his supporters by wearing the cap. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Did he say anything special about it? 

MR. CARR: Yeah, I think he — I forget what the expressions 

he used were. I think he usually had some ref- 
erence to the coonskin cap with a picture of the coon as I recall, but 
I have forgotten just exactly what the reference was. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Let's see, after Gordon Browning was elected in 

'48 for a two-year term, what were you doing 
during that administration? 



13 
MR. CARR: I went into the insurance business in 1949 with 

a friend in Nashville that I had known for years. 
And very frankly, I often thought maybe I would have, might have been bet- 
ter off if I had stayed with the insurance business. I was able to make 
a fairly decent living in the insurance business and I had frankly thought 
that I would stay with it. But in '52 when Governor Clement was elected 
governor, they asked me to come back and serve as Chief Clerk of the 
House of Representatives and the Legislature in 1953 which wouldn't take 
me away completely from my insurance business because at that particular 
time it wasn't really a full-time job. 

I stayed with that and as you might recall Eddie Fryar of Knoxville, 
Tennessee, was closely associated with Governor Clement in his successful 
campaign of '52 and was that choice of Governor Clement to be Secretary 
of State. He and Governor Clement had some differences and they broke. Of 
course, he had been elected by the legislature for a four year term which 
would have carried him through '57. I think I'm correct. At the end of 
his term Governor Clement asked me if I would come back and beckoned me 
to the office of Secretary of State which I had held under Prentice Coop- 
er and under Governor McCord. I debated it and finally consented to go 
back in '57, which I stayed until I retired in 1977, twenty continuous 
years which I enjoyed very much. 

DR. CRAWFORD: What year now, were you asked to become Secre- 

tary of State? 
MR. CARR: Well, of course, I served first under Prentice 



14 
Cooper in '41. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes sir, but you came back. 

MR. CARR: I came back, as I said. Jim Cummings served 

during Governor McCord. He went in in '49 and 
served until '53 and then — let's see, we've got to back up here a little. 
DR. CRAWFORD: After you left as Secretary of State in 1948, 

what happened to the office then from '48 to 
'53 and '53 to '57? 
MR. CARR: Well, '49 after Governor Browning was elected 

my friend Jim Cummings succeeded me and served 
for four years during the two terms of Governor Browning. And then 
when Governor Clement was elected at the beginning of his term in '53 
Eddie Fryar, who had been closely associated with Governor Clement dur- 
ing his campaign, was elected by the General Assembly for a four - year 
term. They had differences of opinion and became — well, you might not 
say enemies — and in 1957 Governor Clement asked me if I would come back 
to the office of Secretary of State and I consented to after much delib- 
eration. I was elected by the General Assembly in 1957 for a four-year 
term and served until I retired in 1977 for a consecutive period of 
twenty years. 

DR. CRAWFORD: In addition to your earlier service? 

MR. CARR: Yes sir. In addition to earlier service. 

DR. CRAWFORD: What was the nature of the differences be- 

tween Governor Clement and Secretary of State 
Eddie Fryar? 



15 
MR. CARR: Well, that's a long story. Mr. Fryar (Eddie) 

was closely associated with Mr. Bob Creighton 
who at that time was president of the Super Service Motor Transport Com- 
pany, which is a large trucking firm and who had been a strong supporter 
of Governor Clement. He is now deceased, Mr. Creighton. For some rea- 
son there was some disagreement between Mr. Creighton and Governor Cle- 
ment on some of the things that had happened. I don't recall all of 
them. Mr. Fryar decided that he would go with Mr. Creighton in what- 
ever differences that existed between Mr. Creighton and Governor Clement. 
So Mr. Fryar sided with Mr. Creighton in those differences and that 
created a situation between Governor Clement and Mr. Fryar and Mr. Creigh- 
ton that existed, I reckon, thoughout the administration of Governor Cle- 
ment. So, I served continuously for twenty years, under Governor Clement 
and later under Governor Ellington. Back during that period of time they 
were calling it leap frog government. Governor Clement was the last two- 
year term under our constitution. He served the first four-year term. I 
think maybe we have discussed this before, but he served six years contin- 
uously. Then Governor Ellington was selected to be the candidate and was 
elected and successful. He served a four-year term and after his four- 
year term Governor Clement came back and served. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Sixty-two to sixty-six. 

MR. CARR: He served another four-year term which gave 

him a total ten years as governor which 1 
think is the longest tenure anyone has ever served. 
DR. CRAWFORD: In the twentieth-century. 



16 
MR. CARR: Right. 

DR. CRAWFORD: That had probably been the longest time since 

anyone except William Carroll in the 1820' s 
and '30's served. He was in for twelve years. 
MR. CARR: After Governor Ellington went to Washington and 

served a year under President Lyndon Johnson 
and then came back and was elected governor and served four years. He 
was succeeded by Governor Winfield Dunn who defeated John Jay Hooker who 
was the Democratic nominee at that particular time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: In 1970. 

MR. CARR: In 1970, right. 

DR. CRAWFORD: The Legislature, in the 1950' s for the General 

Assembly really selected a Secretary of State. 
How much influence did the Governor have over the General Assembly then? 
MR. CARR: There was a period of, you might say, from 1930 

beginning possibly in 1933 up until 1950 or in 
the '60's rather that the governor pretty well dominated the legislature 
in the sense that the constitutional officers elected by the General As- 
sembly — the Comptroller of the Treasury — were elected for two years, and 
the Secretary of State under the Constitution elected for four years, I 
don't know why they ever made that office a four-year term and the other 
two a two-year term, but that was true. 

The govenor during all those years up until six or eight years ago, 
pretty well dominated the legislature as far as electing constitutional 
officers was concerned. Whoever the governor wanted was usually elected. 



17 



DR. CRAWFORD: 



MR. CARR: 



DR. CRAWFORD: 



MR. CARR: 



Now, that's of course several years ago. The independent movement of the 
Legislature, not only in Tennessee but across the country, generally started 
in. Now, you've got more independence in the Legislature than you had and 
the governor doesn't completely dominate the Legislature now like they used 
to. 

When did you see that change taking place, as well 
as you could guess, Mr, Carr? 

Oh, I think it came probably the last two years of 
Governor Ellington's administration. 
That would have been about '68 to '70 or '69 to 
'71. 

Along in that time because that is when the move- 
ment generally started for independent legisla- 
tures . 
DR. CRAWFORD: You don't consider it to be just a Tennessee 

development then? 
MR. CARR: Oh no, it didn't start in Tennessee. It started 

in other states and it kind of spread across the 
country and in most all of the states now you might consider the legis- 
latures are more independent of the executive branch than they used to be. 
Of course, we used to have legislatures that met biannually, every two 
years, but now they meet annually. They have more imput in what's going 
on in government now than they used to. The committees that meet are 
continually meeting almost like they are in Congress or overseeing state 
government more. The governor, of course, still has tremendous executive 



18 
power but he is being looked at more with a critical eye now by the legis- 
lature than he used to be in the old days. 

DR. CRAWFORD: When did the legislature start meeting annually? 

MR. CARR: Let's see now, I'll have to go back. I'm not 

sure, but I believe maybe during the adminis- 
tration of Governor Ellington or last part of his administration. 
DR. CRAWFORD: He was in poor health in his latter years as 

governor, wasn't he? 
MR. CARR: Well, his health wasn't as good, but he really 

wasn't in too bad a health. He had developed 
a diabetic situation but his health even up until the time of his death 
didn't seem to be any critical situation. 
DR. CRAWFORD: You saw both the Ellington administrations. 

Do you think he was less active in the second 
than he was in the first? 
MR. CARR: Well, I don't think he was quite as active 

in the last two years of his four-year term 
as he was in the beginning because he was older of course, but he was 
still active. Governor Ellington was the type of man, being born in the 
country, who would come to the office early of a morning at, say seven 
o'clock, and he could get a lot done by being there early. He would 
stay until 12:30 or 1:00. He liked to play golf, but he would put in six 
or seven hours in the governor's office and then take maybe the afternoon 
off to play golf. But he would get there at seven o'clock or sometimes 
six- thirty of a morning. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Which of his administrative aides did he depend 



19 

on most during that time? 
MR. CARR: Judge Ross Dyer was one of his administrative 

aides that he depended on a great deal who was 
later, you know, appointed to the Supreme Court in Tennessee and a very 
able aide. Governor McCord would always and Governor Cooper would depend 
pretty much on their cabinets. And the constitutional officers, of course, 
at weekly meetings, most all of them monthly meetings. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Now, this is Clement and Ellington both? 

MR. CARR: Yes. And they would go into some detail of what 

was going on and happening in the various depart- 
ments — the good things and the bad things and to make corrections and rem- 
edy situations that were existing and consulted with the members of the 
cabinet and the constitutional officers. Of course, the Attorney General 
was involved in the meetings and kept in pretty close touch with all of 
those people. And of course, there was legislative leadership, whoever 
were speakers at that time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: They depended on consulting quite a number 

of people then, didn't they? 
MR. CARR: Oh yes, they would always have people across 

the state they would consult and particularly 
makeing the appointments to the judiciary, to the courts and other ap- 
pointments with leaders throughout the state trying to secure the type 
of men they thought should serve in state government. 



THIS IS THE ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH OFFICE OF MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY. 
THIS PROJECT IS "AN ORAL HISTORY OF TENNESSEE POLITICS." THE PLACE IS 
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, THE DATE IS AUGUST 6, 1978, AND THIS IS INTERVIEW 
NUMBER TWO WITH MR. JOE CARR . THE INTERVIEW IS BY DR. CHARLES W CRAWFORD, 
DIRECTOR OF THE MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH OFFICE, 
AND IS TRANSCRIBED BY MS CAROL LANEY. INTERVIEW IV. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Mr. Carr, I would like to ask some questions about 

the Clement-Ellington years which extended for a 
long period of time in Tennessee political history, from about January 
of '53 to January of '71. To begin with, what do you see is the major 
difference in the style of governors of Frank Clement and Buford Ellington? 
I know you have seen two different administrative periods of each. 
MR. CARR: Well, they were two different types of personali- 

ties. Buford came more from a rural background 
than Frank Clement, although he [Frank Clement] grew up in Dickson 
County, Tennessee. Buford had been a farmer and knew probably more of 
that type of the background of the people of Tennesse maybe than Frank 
did. Frank, of course, was a lawyer — graduated from Vanderbilt Univer- 
sity. I believe it was Vanderbilt Law School. And he was a little more 
of a flamboyant type of person, if that's a good word. And he was, of 
course, a better speaker than Governor Ellington, although Governor 
Ellington developed into a good speaker. But they both had some types 



of characteristics that were similar in that they were easily met, easily 
accessible to people that came to the office on Capitol Hill, more so I 
think than maybe they have been in recent years because of the change of 
times and so forth. It was very easy for most of the people who came to 
the Capitol Hill on business and wanted to see the governor ^to see the 
governor. Of course, it was always well to have an appointment in ad- 
vance, but lots of times people who would come in could see the governor 
if they had some business that was important for the governor to discuss 
with them. 

Their administrations were similar to a great extent because of the 
succession of each other and the personnel and the people that were sur- 
rounding each of them were to a great extent the same people, that is, in 
major policy-making positions and the constitutional officers for instance 
I served during both, under Governor Clement and then Governor Ellington. 
Bill Snodgrass, who has served longer in the Comptroller's office than 
any other man, has served in both. Harlan Mathews, who is the present 
state treasurer, served as an assistant in one of the departments--I ' ve 
forgotten which--at that particular time. As I say, most of the policy- 
making personnel served in both administrations with few exceptions. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Harlan Mathews, Joe Carr . Who else, sir? 
MR. CARR: Bill Snodgrass, and of course, Mr. Jim Alexander 

served as treasurer under Frank Clement, and Nobel 



Caudell, who is an official with the Genesco Corporation, also served. 
Two of the officers, Mr. Snodgrass and myself .... Maybe Mr. Snodgrass 
did not serve the first term under Governor Clement. I think he came on 
maybe later. 3ut he was there during most of the time during both gover- 
nors. Governor Clement was of course a younger man than Governor Elling- 
ton, several years younger, but they both in a lot of ways were similar 
in their approaches to government. Both of them, you might say, to some 
extent had the same ideas about state government. Although Governor 
Clement had preceeded Governor Ellington, he instituted some things that 
he advocated when he ran for governor, like mental health, highways, some 
prison reform and things of that area that were carried on during his 
administration, and free textbooks that were carried on by Governor 
Ellington. They were some of the major things that were prominent when 
Governor Clement assumed office and were carried on through both governors ' 



tenures . 

DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 

DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR CARR : 



What was Governor Clement's part in the Constitu- 
tional Convention? 

Do you mean what did he advocate during the 
Constitutional Convention? 

Yes, what was his relation to it? Did he take the 
leading part in the changes? 

Some of these things have slipped my mind a little, 
I think he advocated the change of tenure of the 



governor from a two-year term to a four-year term. I 'm not so sure what 

other changes were made in the first Constitutional Convention that 

Governor Clement had anything to do with while he was governor. That 

was in what--' 50 what? 

DR CRAWFORD: '53 I believe it was. It went into effect in '54. 

MR. CARR: '54, right. 

DR. CRAWFORD: What was his relationship with Governor Cooper? 

MR. CARR: I think it was good because as I recall Governor 

Cooper, of course, was elected president of the 
convention. Mr. Cecil Simms, who was a prominent lawyer of the Nashville 
bar, now deceased, was also a candidate. I think that Governor Cooper 
won by a very narrow margin over Mr. Simms. As I recall, he had actually 
promoted one or the other, I'm not positive on that point, I'm sorry. 
DR. CRAWFORD: And Frank Clement was elected next then for a 

four-year term. 
MR. CARR: Yes, he was the last governor to serve a two-year 

term and the first governor to serve a four-year 
term which gave him a six-year tenure of office. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Do you remember anything about his campaign of 

1954, the year he was elected to a two-year term? 
MR. CARR: Well, he was opposed by Governor Browning that 

year. As I recall, he carried every county in the 
state except Carroll, which was Governor Browning's home county. 



Browning nevertheless made a very vigorous campaign defending his position 
that he had taken on his two years as governor of Tennessee, As I recall, 
Governor Browning made a very vigorous campaign, but by the results you 
can see the people were very decidedly endorsing the first two years of 
Governors Clement's administration by the overwhelming vote of confidence 
that they gave him. 
DR 4 CRAWFORD: What do you think made Frank Clement such an effective 

campaigner? 
MR. CARR: Well, I think number one, he was an excellent speaker. 

He was an attractive fellow. He was also easily met 
and accessible to the people. He would go into a place to eat and you 
could see when he entered the room that people would turn to say, "There's 
Governor Clement". He'd speak to everybody in there if he had an oppor- 
tunity. Not only that, he'd go back in the kitchen and shake hands with 
the cook and waiters and waitresses and everybody. He was a fellow that 
took every opportunity, and I think he enjoyed doing it, of making him- 
self known to everybody. And he was easily met and was accessible to 
people . 
DR. CRAWFORD: What do you remember about his public speaking? 

I've heard a lot about that. 
MR, CARR: Well, I always thought Governor Clement speaking 

extemporaneously was better a lot of times than 
when he would have a prepared text. He could seem to speak off the 



6 

cuff better than most people that I've ever heard and he certainly had 
the oratorical ability. I think that was an ability that he developed 
when he was a youngster. I think he had an aunt, Mrs. Weems, at Dickson, 
Tennessee, that was a speech teacher, and maybe while he was either in 
grammar school or high school she taught him public speaking, how to 
enunciate and so forth. Of course, it paid off because he was a very, 
very fluent speaker. 
DR. CRAWFORD: What experience had he had speaking before he got 

into politics? 
MR. CARR : He went into the service, as you know, and when he 

came out he spoke a lot to different organizations. 
They became acquainted with the fact that he was a good speaker so he 
was very much in demand. I think that one of the things that probably 
helped Frank a lot was the fact in 1946 or '47 when the Young Democratic 
Clubs of Tennessee were reorganizing after World War II, they were look- 
ing around for someone to be president of the state organization. A lot 
of us felt that we should have a veteran to be president of the state 
organization. After consultation with some friends we decided that 
Frank Clement would be an ideal candidate and would make an ideal pres- 
ident. So we got together with some of our friends and we elected 
Frank President of the Young Democrats Club. I think maybe that was one 
of the first times that I'd heard Frank make a political speech . When 
he made his acceptance speech to the Young Democrats in the old Hermitage 



Hotel, he did a wonderful job. Someone remarked there that afternoon, 
"Well, there's a young man that will be governor of Tennessee someday". 
And sure enough, it turned out that way. After that Frank was elected 
commander of the legion in Tennessee which gave him access to many areas 
of the state to speak and made him much in demand as a speaker which 
helped him a lot. And he went back into the service for a while. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I'd forgotten that. About when was that? 
MR. CARR : Well, that must have been around '48 or '49, some- 

where in there because he was stationed at Ft. 
Gordon in Georgia. I know he was a commissioned officer, because he was 
an officer when he came out of World War II and he could come home on 
weekends. It was speculated then that because of his returning home 
every so often during his tour of duty he might possibly be a candidate 
for governor someday. And sure enough, when he was released from service 
he became an active candidate around, I think '51 or '52, in there--one 
of those years. He let it be known that he was interested in running 
for governor. Of course, then he was receiving a lot of invitations 
to speak to various groups across the state. 
DR. CRAWFORD: What religious speaking did he do? 
MR. CARR: Well, he spoke at a lot of churches. He was in 

demand for a lot of church speeches. Frank's 
father was a Sunday school teacher and later Frank taught Sunday school 
here in Nashville at McHenry ' s Church. He had a class there that he 



8 

taught every Sunday. 

DR. CRAWFORD: At which church, sir? 

MR. CARR : McHenry Methodist. I'm pretty sure that he taught 

a class. I don't know whether it was in the church 
building or next door. I've forgotten which. He had a regular class 
that he taught there for some time. I'm not sure this was after he be- 
came governor or before he became governor that he continued it. He 
may have discontinued it after he became governor. I believe that he 
did teach Sunday school for a while after he became governor. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Did he ever serve as a lay minister or was he 

just an occasional speaker? 
MR. CARR: I think he was just an occasional speaker. I don't 

think he was a lay minister. He was a very effective 
Sunday school teacher, apparently well-versed in the Bible--I think with 
his father's help. He commanded the attention of those that would attend 
Sunday school classes. I think I went on one or two occasions. But, of 
course, I was a Baptist and he was a Methodist and I didn't get to go 
too often. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Do you think it would be fair to say that he was 

one of the strong governors of the 20th century? 
If I tried classifying them so that you come out with Malcolm Patterson, 
Austin Peay and Frank Clement, do you think he deserves in the group? 



MR. CARR: I would say so because I think you have to analyze 

the era in which they served. Because there were 
different times and different situations and different conditions, eco- 
nomically and socially and other areas that might put one of them in a 
different classification. Of course, I don't remember when Governor 
Patterson was governor. I've read about it. I do remember when Governor 
Roberts was governor to some extent. He had his problems, of course, 
with the tax problems back then, I remember, and then he was defeated. 
Most of them thought because of the sliding tax scale there was a reason 
for his defeat in 1921, I believe it was. Alf Taylor who beat him in 
November, was the first Republican governor to be elected and the last 
one until Governor Dunn came along. 

Governor Peay was an outstanding governor. He promised Tennessee 
that he would take Tennessee out of the mud. And you might say really 
that he was the daddy of good roads in Tennessee--and in his day they 
were good roads. Compared with today's super highways they would of 
course be antiquated. He built bridges and roads and he was particularly 
strong in the eastern part of the state because of some promises that he 
made and carried through in building bridges and roads. Governor Peay 
and Mr. Crump never did get along too well. But Governor Peay, as I 
previously said, was elected for three terms because I think he carried 
out a lot of the promises that he had committed to the people of Tennessee 
and particularly in road-building and some other areas. 



LO 

After Governor Peay , Governor Horton came along and there was a 
stormy period there of impeachment in '31, then the depression. And 
then after that, Governor Hill McAlister came along when Franklin Roose- 
velt became President of the United States, And Governor McAlister 
served for two terms and was a very good governor under very difficult 
circumstances because of the depression years. With the help of the 
federal government Tennessee became like a lot of the other states which 
were helped a lot by the federal money. And then after that we start 
with Governor Browning, who was elected to succeed Governor McAlister 
when a lot of people thought that Burgin Dossett would have been. I 
think we discussed that previously. 

Anyhow, Mr. Crump supported Browning and Browning was elected. 
Browning was a good governor. I don't recall all the things that 
happened under his administration but I think Governor Browning made a 
good governor. Then Prentice Cooper came along. Prentice Cooper was very 
conservative in a lot of ways and particularly in the fiscal responsibili- 
ties of state government. And he was a good governor, he was a different 
type of governor, but he wasn't an extraordinary good speaker. He de- 
veloped into a fairly good speaker. He was a very honest, honorable man 
and made Tennessee a good governor and was elected for three terms. And 
after Governor Cooper goes Governor McCord. Governor McCord made a good 
governor. He was the daddy of the sales tax and trying to help the edu- 
cational program and the school teachers of the state. And then we come 



11 

into the era of Governor Browning again and then Governor Clement. And 
I think you would have to rate all of those governors as good governors 
because all of them had different eras in which to serve. Frank advo- 
cated certain things like free textbooks for school children and mental 
health programs, penal reform system and highways and so forth. So I 
think you would have to put Frank Clement in a category as one of Tennessee's 
outstanding governors. I think very frankly that we've been very fortu- 
nate in Tennessee in having good governors in my lifetime. 

We had the impeachment proceedings against Governor Horton which 
was maybe an unfortunate situation caused by the depression. But over- 
all I think Tennessee has been very fortunate in having the type of 
governors that we've had, the leadership that they've had. Unlike so 
©any other states we have had less scandal in political governors than 
some of the other states. 

DR. CRAWFORD: We've been very fortunate about that. 
MR CARR: We've been very fortunate, I think. We've had 

minor things that happen. I don't think we've 
ever had any real bad situations. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Well, the problem with Governor Henry Horton was 

caused partly by the depression, wasn't it? 
MR. CARR: I think that's true. It was brought about mainly 

because I think they were going to build a lot of 
highways back then, and they were going to issue some highway bonds and 



12 

several million dollars that the legislature failed to do. It all 
started, I think, over the sale of some Kentucky rock, they so-called 
back then. And then the bank failures of some of the interests of 
Rogers Caldwell and Colonel Lea and all of them were involved in that 
which caused things to happen back then which was a kind of unfortunate 
era in our state's history. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yeah, well it came at a bad time too, of course, 

when the whole economy was down. 
MR. CARR: Oh, terrible' 

DR. CRAWFORD: What was the relationship between Frank Clement 

and Mr. Crump in the '52 election? I know they 
at least appeared together. 

MR. CARR: Mr. Crump was getting along in years but he sup- 

ported Clement. There was a time or two when I 
don't think Mr. Crump was entirely happy with some of the things Frank 
Clement did. I think Clement was acting in what he thought was the 
best interest of the state and I'm sure Mr. Crump did too. I've for- 
gotten, there were one or two minor things that I think were brought 
out at that particular time that maybe Mr. Crump didn't approve of. 
He supported Clement. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did he support Clement again in '54 for the 

four-year term? 



L3 



DR. CRAWFORD 
MR. CARR: 



MR, CARR: Yeah, he supported him in '54. I don't know how. 

I've forgotten what year Mr. Crump died. 

'54, but not until after the election was over. 

I don't have those election returns before me, 

but I think if you'll check that, Frank carried 
every county in the state except maybe one. If I'm not mistaken, I 
could be mistaken about that. I think he carried every county except 
Carroll when he ran on the second term. We'll have to check that out. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Did you notice any difference in the tax policies 

of the Ellington and Clement administrations? 
MR. CARR: No, as I recall, they were pretty much the same. 

If there was any increase at all in taxes they 
might have been in the tobacco tax or the sales tax or the gasoline 
tax. That's the only major areas that I can see where there might have 
been an increase in the tax problem. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Why do you think Frank Clement selected Buford 

Ellington to succeed him in '58? 
MR. CARR: Well, I think that after a careful analysis of 

the state, Buford Ellington had been Commissioner 
of Agriculture and had very close ties with the Farm Bureau and had been 
popular as the Commissioner and had made a lot of friends over the state. 
He had an opportunity to do a lot of speaking. 



14 

DR. CRAWFORD: Was he a good speaker? 

MR. CARR : Well, he wasn't an excellent speaker, but he was 

a good speaker. He had an opportunity to do a lot 
of speaking and had a lot of invitations. He made a lot of friends. I 
think when they analyzed the situation carefully across the state that the 
final analysis was that Buford Ellington possibly out of all of those 
that had been considered was maybe the strongest candidate. In his 
first election he had a pretty narrow margin of victory. As I recall, it 
was 6,000 or 12,000. I've forgotten just exactly what it was. It was 
pretty close. Was that the first one or the second one? 
DR. CRAWFORD: I think it was the first. The second one he did 

pretty well over John J. Hooker. 
MR. CARR: Yeah, right. It was the first one when Farris and 

Orgill and all of them ran. I know they were very 
concerned late at night about what Madison County might do, for that was 
the home town of Tip Taylor and, of course, he got a big vote in Madison 
County, but Ellington came out on top by a narrow margin. 
DR. CRAWFORD: It was '58 rather than '62. 
MR. CARR: Right. I did have that fifty year election book 

but I let somebody borrow it. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I've heard of that special book, you know. 
MR. CARR: You ought to get one of those. I was going to 

bring it up to date. 



IS 

DR. CRAWFORD: Where are they available? 

MR. CARR: Well, if they've got any, I'll send to the Secretary 

of State's office and get you one. They have Fifty 
Years of Elections and Fifty Years of Primaries starting 1916 through '66, 
DR. CRAWFORD: I would appreciate that. 
MR. CARR: I was going to finish it before I left up there and 

I had so many other things to do, I didn't. But 
I'm going to still, hopefully, do it. Bring it up to date because it is 
very beneficial to people, well to newspaper people and to people inter- 
ested in elections in Tennessee. 
DR CRAWFORD: I have checked in the library about things and it 

is a very important book. I'll make a note here of 
my mailing address. 
MR. CARR: I'll check next week and see. They were about to 

run out of them and they were going to bring them 
up to date and I hope they do. They are valuable to have. When you 
think back twenty or twenty-five years ago what happened, it's hard to 
retain. It seems to me like Buford won that race either by six thousand 
or twelve thousand. I'm not sure but it was a close race. 
DR, CRAWFORD: He was not as popular as Clement then. 

MR. CARR: Well, no, he wasn't as strong a candidate. Another 

thing about Governor Ellington--that was when the 



L6 

integration issue was developed to some extent, particularly among the 
blacks at that time. Governor Ellington, being a Missippian, born in 
Mississippi, I think in his initial speech said he was an old-fashioned 
segragationist . And I think that hurt him in some areas of the state. 
It helped him in some but hurt him in others. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Of course, the Memphis black vote was not as large 

as it became later, but it was fairly large. Well, 
by that time, '58, what changes were you noticing in Shelby County? I 
know things were so that you could predict them pretty well before Mr. 
Crump died. How was it changing by then? 
MR. CARR : Do you mean after Mr. Crump died? 

DR CRAWFORD: Yes, sir. 
MR. CARR: Well, of course, like any organization that was held 

together by, you might say, one man, the different 
segments of his lieutenants began to kind of vie for leadership and they 
drifted off into different groups and became fragmented, I guess you 
would say, and lost the real tight rein that Mr. Crump had over the 
organization men. They went in different directions, a lot of them. 
Some of them didn't like Will Gerber. Some of them didn't like Francis 
Andrews. Some of them didn't like this person or that person and they 
went in different directions, The organization just gradually, as most 
people would predict like all other organizations, just kind of disinte- 
grated. 



17 



DR. CRAWFORD: Do you know what Shelby County did in the '58 

election? Would it have supported Tip Taylor more? 
MR. CARR: I think Tip Taylor got a pretty good vote in Shelby 

County that year as I recall, because he had been a 
friend to a lot of people in Shelby County. It was a very unfortunate 
situation because Tip Taylor was a very fine friend of mine and still is. 
DR CRAWFORD: He is living in Jackson now, isn't he? 
MR. CARR: Yes, he is a judge over there. 

Andrew, isn't it? 

Who? 

His first name is Andrew, isn't it? 

Andrew Tip Taylor. 

Yes. 

There was another Andrew Taylor there that was in 

the army. I think that was a different Taylor. Tip 
Taylor served as a commissioner under Prentice Cooper. 
DR , CRAWFORD: Do you remember what commission he filled? 
MR. CARR: Commissioner of Institutions, I believe they called 

it then. I know that when he first came up here he 
was too young to serve. He wasn't but thirty and he had to wait a while 
I think, or loose his minority or something, so he could serve. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Under McCord? 



DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 

DR CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 

DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 



18 



MR. CARR: Under Prentice Cooper. In fact, I think he was his 

West Tennessee campaign manager. 
DR. CRAWFORD: So Ellington came in after the '58 election for a 

four-year term and you at that time were in as 
Secretary of State again. What sort of administration did he have? How 
do you remember it? 
MR. CARR: Governor Ellington had a good administration. He 

was more conservative in his views than a lot of 
people thought. He was another type of fellow that was easily met and 
accessible to the people and made a lot of friends across the state. He 
had friends in both parties. A lot of Republicans were friends of Governor 
Ellington's and that was before the Republican party really started to be 
revitalized in Tennessee during that fifty year period. 
DR. CRAWFORD: He had a more conservative administration generally 

speaking than Frank Clement. 
MR. CARR: Oh, yes. Yes, he was considered really more con- 

servative than Frank. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Do you know what people he relied on mainly for 

advice? 
MR. CARR: Well, he too, like Frank, would rely a lot on friends 

and his cabinet. Usually we had a cabinet meeting 
once a week when problems were coming up of policy or problems of appoint- 
ments of judges or things like that. He would consult either individually 



19 



or collectively with groups of us. And he would also consult with people 
in the areas that might be affected by it. Like, if it was something in 
Memphis, he might consult with the people over there that were his close 
friends or other areas of the state. But usually that was the way he 
conducted his administration. 

DR. CRAWFORD: What was Frank Clement doing during this first 

Ellington administration, '58 to '62? Did he 



practice law? 
MR. CARR: 
DR. CRAWFORD: 
MR. CARR: 
DR. CRAWFORD: 



He was practicing law. 

And still known as a party leader, wasn't he? 

Yes, he was very active in party affairs. 

How did he get along with Buford Ellington while 

Ellington was governor? 
MR. CARR: Well, I think they got along fairly well. There 

was, as I think everyone knows, a little feeling 
there. And to be perfectly honest I have never to this day been able to 
put my finger on exactly whatever might have happened that would cause 
the friction that existed between them. I have never known honestly 
just exactly what caused it and never did really, because of my friend- 
ship for both of them, never did pursue it to the point of where I tried 
to find out exactly what happened — some difference of opinion of what 
really happened between them. There was some feeling, I think they both 



2 

didn't openly, they didn't conceal it, but there wasn't any open breach 
between them. As far as I knew, their relationship wasn't as pleasant 
as it was when they had been associated together. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Well, I suppose it's awfully hard for a man who has 

been governor for a whole term to just step out and 
let someone else just run it the way he wants to. I suspect it would be 
difficult. 
MR. CARR: Right, And I guess you think, well, I don't know why 

he is doing it that way, I wouldn't have done that 
that way and maybe make some changes in personnel and things that- -can't 
recall any--but there might have been some that he couldn't have understood 
why he would do those things after I had done it his way. So, I don't 
know really what happened, but whatever it was it was an unfortunate sit- 
uation because they were both important to each other. If Frank had 
never been governor, Buford Ellington would never had been governor, be- 
cause chances are he would never had that opportunity to serve because he 
came into the cabinet as a commissioner and had that opportunity to serve 
Clement. And I think both of them made good governors. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Do you know why he was selected to serve as Commis- 
sioner of Agriculture? 
MR. CARR: Well, I think he was given the choice after managing 

Frank's campaign, of what he would like to be. 



21 

DR, CRAWFORD: And he took agriculture. 

MR. CARR: He took agriculture because I think he felt that he'd 

been closer and that was his field. Maybe because he 
had been associated with the Farm Bureau, some of his friends across the 
state felt that that would be a good spot for him, And he made a good 
commissioner . 
DR CRAWFORD: He had the support of the Farm Bureau. As you know, 

there are many organizations; the Tennessee Municipal 
League, the contractors, the teachers association, a lot of different lobby 
groups. Which do you think were the most influential during this period, 
the late '50's? 
MR. CARR: Well, I would say the two most powerful groups 

had to be and maybe in terms of votes--that could 
produce votes--would be the Tennessee Education Association and the Farm 
Bureau. Of course, you can't discount what labor organizations were 
worth. They are more powerful today, to some extent, than they were 
then, maybe. But Frank had a good relationship with labor and I think 
Buford had a fairly good relationship with labor. Although I think Frank's 
relationship with labor was pretty strong. In fact, Matt Lynch, who is 
now president of the AFL-CIO in Tennessee, was a very strong supporter 
of Frank Clement in those days. I think labor, generally, was pretty 
favorable to Frank. Maybe a little more so to Frank than they were to 
Buford. I don't know that to be ironclad but I know they were very 



22 



favorable to Frank in most instances. And then Frank had, if you recall, 
I can't recall the exact incidents, but when the integration problem de- 
veloped and they had the problem in Clinton about a black child or some- 
thing, he had to send the National Guard over there which might not have 
been popular with a lot of people but it was popular with the black people 
because he had the guts to act what he thought was in the best interest 
of the people and protect that situation over there. And going ahead and 
doing it rather than not doing it. I kind of have to go back and recount 
just exactly the events that happened when you might be familiar with it 
more than I am. Frank made a lot of friends among the black population 
at that particular time in protecting that situation over there. 



I think he stood well with labor and with blacks and 
I would guess probably better with each group than 



DR. CRAWFORD: 

Buford Ellington. 

MR. CARR : Yeah, right. And Buford hurt himself some when he 

made the statement, particularly blacks. Of course, 
he may have helped them some when he made the statement, "I'm an old- 
fashioned segregationist". Of course, Buford later, like a lot of people, 
like George Wallace in Alabama you know, changed his position to a great 
extent on that question. By the way, when do they have their primary 
over there? 

DR. CRAWFORD: Let's see, which? 
MR. CARR: Don't they have a primary pretty soon in Alabama 



23 



DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 

DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 

DR. CRAWFORD: 

MR. CARR: 



to elect, to nominate .... 

I think they do, I think the campaign is going on now. 

Big Jim Folsom is running for governor again and isn't 

Cornelia Wallace running, too? 

Yes, sir, I believe she is a candidate. 

She's related to Big Jim. 

You know, I had read that. I don't remember what 

it is--niece, granddaughter. 

Yes, it's pretty close relation to him I think. 

That's a kind of sad situation for Big Jim. He's 
totally blind, isn't he? 
DR. CRAWFORD: I understand he is in very poor health. When Mr. 

Crump was in his heyday, you know, the center of 
political power in Tennessee, is seems to me, was pretty much Memphis. 
At least a lot of it came from there. Does it seem a fair description to 
you, Mr, Carr, that in the Clement-Ellington period, it shifted to 
Nashville . 
MR. CARR: Well, I don't think it totally shifted to Nashville, 

but I think it began to shift toward Nashville. I 
think, of course, after Mr. Crump's death the political power definitely 
shifted more in this area. When you analyze the situation back during 
the era of Mr. Crump, when he could give a candidate 60,000 to 80,000 
votes, when a man would go to Shelby County with 20,000 votes in the 



24 

arrears and then get a 30,000 or 40,000 majority in Shelby County, you 
would have to say that they had a powerful political organization there. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes. 
MR. CARR : So nowadays that's not exactly true but still in this 

last election Memphis was very much in the spotlight 
because they were waiting to see what Shelby County was going to do elec- 
tion night--to see which way the election might go. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Even more than in 1978. 
MR. CARR: Right. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Well, by this time, by the first Ellington adminis- 
tration, seems to me that government was fairly 
stable with Clement and Ellington being very important. What was the 
major source of campaign spending in that time? Any certain kind of 
lobby? 
MR. CARR: Well, of course, newspaper and radio advertising 

were very important. You didn't have as much 
television time then. I would say Frank was really though, the beginning 
of the effective use of television, because he used it and used it very 
effectively. I remember they had forums, I guess you would call it for- 
ums, or panels of discussion. I remember they had women, labor and dif- 
ferent groups which would sit down and discuss the campaign on a fifteen 
minute program. It was very effective. I remember one night they had 



25 

a young group in there--"Why I am for Frank Clement". And they had two 
or three young fellows on there in their, I'd say, twenties, that were 
very effective in telling why they were for Frank Clement for governor 
of Tennessee, They used some women and that type of campaigning was 
very effective. Of course, it wasn't nearly as expensive as it is 
today. One of the most effective pieces of material that I think was 
used during Frank's first campaign—now he wrote personal letters. You 
could write a personal letter back in those days. You can do it more 
effectively today with the type of equipment that they have, but he 
wrote letters to nearly every group--preachers , American Legionaires, 
doctors, lawyers, barbers, well, most every group that had any type of 
organization that he could get a mailing list for, he wrote them a letter 
DR. CRAWFORD: How did he get time for all of that? 
MR. CARR : Well, of course, this was done out in the head- 

quarters. All of these people received a letter. 
Some of them was kind of a person-type letter relating maybe to their 
particular type business. At the tail end of the campaign they sent out 
a tabloid--newspaper--I ' ve forgotten what they called it, The Tennessee 
Democrat , and a four-page deal. I think you've seen them. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes. 
MR. CARR: In which, they quoted people all across the state 

to tell them who was going to win. They would quote 
some people in east Tennessee like maybe Hub Walters or some leader up 



26 

there. Frank Clement would carry the first district by such and such 
a majority, some county in the third district, all the way across the 
state they would have quotes and have a headline in there, "Clement to 
Win by a Landslide". And they sent that to every boxholder in Tennessee, 
every rural boxholder, except didn't send it to all the cities. That 
was very effective back in those days. People would go out to their 
mailbox on a Saturday, like the election was on Thursday, I think it 
was mailed out on the weekend. Most of them either got it on Saturday 
or Monday, a day or two before the election and you know country people 
read that and sure enough that's the way it turned out. That was one of 
the most effective campaigns I think I've seen. Frank's first campaign. 
It was well-organized, well-executed and to tell you the truth, it was 
almost like Jake's campaign although it didn't cost as much. 
DR. CRAWFORD: It sounds a little like Jake's campaign. 
MR. CARR : Yes, sir. He had some good television and some 

good radio and some good newspaper advertisement. 
To be perfectly frank with you, I'm a little disappointed in some of 
Bob's. Period. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I don't know who did Bob Clement's advertising 

for him. 
MR. CARR: I mean some of it just wasn't especially good. 

These people they had over there are pretty smart 
operators. He had Walker again this time. He did a lot of his ad- 



27 

vising to Jake, didn't he? Deloss Walker in Memphis. 

DR CRAWFORD: Yes, sir, he handled, I believe, the whole adver- 
tising campaign. Now, I think the first campaign 
Jake Butcher allowed Deloss Walker to do most of the planning. I under- 
stand this time he kept most of it in his own hands. But Deloss did most 
of the advertising. 
MR. CARR : Well, it was pretty effective. At least I noticed 

they got out there handing out, I don't know how 
much they have mailed out, but they had a pamphlet that was four or five 
pages. You probably saw one of them here and there about Jake and his 
family, his interest with farmers. It was very effective piece of 
material. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I thought it was very well done. And Clement was 

one of the first candidates who really looked good 
on television, I suppose. 
MR. CARR: Oh, yeah, Frank was a good-looking, had a good 

voice. That was one thing that I think maybe might 
have hurt Bob a little. It may have been because they weren't farmers 
in the first place. But they would say, "He's so young". "He's too 
young". They didn't realize he was two years older than his daddy. He 
didn't have that stature that Frank had. 
DR. CRAWFORD: He just looked young. 
MR. CARR: He looked young, sure. I really think a lot of 



28 

places he got by with it pretty good. He said, 
"They would say I'm too young and too short", but he would say, "I'm 
a half inch taller than Howard B&ker." 
DR. CRAWFORD: And a year or so older than his father when he 

first started. 
MR CARR: Yeah, right. Then they turned this little Bob 

around pretty good too. When they'd say "Little 
Bob", he'd say, "I'm for the little people." 
DR. CRAWFORD: I think that was pretty good. You know, sometimes 

candidates get insulted by what the papers or 
opponents say about them and get mad, but I think it helps if, as Estes 
Kefauver did with the coonskin, you can turn it around in a humorous 
way. 
MR. CARR: Oh, what references was it Mr. Crump made of him 

about, he reminded him of a coon? 
DR. CRAWFORD: Of a pet coon. 
MR. CARR: Of a pet coon. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Stealing something I think, out of a drawer. 
MR. CARR: Yeah, he really went to town with that, didn't he? 

DR. CRAWFORD: I believe what he said when he got the coonskin 

cap was, "He might be a pet coon but he was not 
Mr. Crump's pet coon." 
MR. CARR: Yeah. It was very effective. 



THIS IS THE ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH OFFICE OF MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY. 
THIS PROJECT IS "RECENT TENNESSEE POLITICAL HISTORY." THE PLACE IS 
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE. THE DATE IS MARCH 2, 1979. THE INTERVIEW IS 
WITH MR. JOE C. CARR. THE INTERVIEW IS BY DR. CHARLES W. CRAWFORD, 
DIRECTOR OF THE MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH OFFICE. 
TRANSCRIBED BY BETTY WILLIAMS. INTERVIEW V. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Mr. Carr, I'd like to ask a few questions about 

some of the things we have discussed before and 
especially about some of the interesting early periods in Tennessee pol- 
itics. I don't think many people know for one thing now what the unit 
bill was that was introduced when Gordon Browning was governor the first 
time. Could you explain what the unit bill was? 
MR. CARR: That was a rather complicated bill and I think 

it's been so long since I've had an opportunity 
to really consider it to give it a good explanation of what the unit bill 
consists of. I wish we had a copy of it and could probably get one that 
you could better analyze it where it might be better understood. 

But it was primarily used by Governor Browning at that particular 
time to curb the vote of Shelby County. In other words, instead of to- 
taling up the total votes on their population basis they would be entit- 
led to so many unit votes, thereby eliminating a possible majority of 
say, like they had one time there 60,000 for one candidate and less than 
a 1,000 for another candidate. Under the unit plan I forget what the 
ratio would have been. That of course, can be established bv going back 



2 
and reading a copy of the bill itself as to how many units say a county 
like Shelby would have been entitled to. 

It passed, as you recall, and was also taken to the courts and was 
declared unconstitutional, but that was a fight between the Crump organ- 
ization and then Governor Browning and his organization. But it was 
sponsored by the Browning administration in an effort to curb the strong 
political organization that existed in Shelby County during that period. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Do you think that was the thing mainly that 

caused Mr. Crump to turn against Governor Brown- 
ing, or had he done that before? 
MR. CARR: Well, I think there were some other things that 

maybe precipitated the break between Governor 
Browning and the Crump organization and I regret that I don't recall just 
exactly what it was. It might have been because of personnel matters 
or matters pertaining to what Mr. Crump felt Shelby County was entitled 
to and did not receive and other things that caused Mr, Crump to maybe 
fall out with Governor Browning. They disagreed and then in retaliation 
Governor Browning introduced this legislation. That, of course, would 
have been in 1937, wouldn't it? 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes sir, for he was elected in "36. 

Yeah, at this time — the time that the unit bill 

was introduced — Prentice Cooper was in the Senate 
wasn' t he? 
MR. CARR: Prentice Cooper was a member of the Senate and 

he voted with the Crump organization particularly, 



3 

I don't know on every issue, but he was particularly on the issue of the 
unit bill. I think they had thirteen votes in the Senate that stuck 
pretty close together and as I recall they called themselves, "the im- 
mortal thirteen." Later after the Legislature had adjourned and the next 
year when candidates were being considered for governor, Memphis had a 
candidate, and I think, I'm not sure, in the person of Scott Fitzhugh. 
This should be checked out. 

And Prentice Cooper went — announced to anybody except confirmed 
maybe within the circle of his own friends — for governor. And a meet- 
ing was called in Nashville of some of the Crump lieutenants and other 
leaders across the state about what the political situation would be with 
Cooper running and maybe Fitzhugh (I Hope I'm right about that name.) 
DR. CRAWFORD: Scott Fitzhugh? 

MR. CARR: Scott Fitzhugh. Anyway, Fitzhugh with- 

drew and Crump threw his support to 
Prentice Cooper after having some of his lieutenants to confer with the pol- 
itical leaders from the various parts who had previously been loyal to the 
Crump organization. And Prentice Cooper was nominated and defeated Gover- 
nor Browning for the second term and he himself served three terms as Gov- 
ernor of Tennessee. That was before the constitutional amendment giving 
the governor a four-year term and his relationship with Mr. Crump was al- 
ways pleasant although I don't think they were always just exactly in agree- 
ment on everything. But they managed to — Mr. Crump had a lot of respect for 
Cooper's integrity and his honesty and apparently they got along very well 
in the six years that Prentice Cooper was governor of Tennessee. Of course, 
later the Supreme Court declared the unit bill unconstitutional and that 



4 
wasn't ever brought up ever anymore again. The Unit bill was a big fight 
back in the first part of Governor Erowning's administration and the Crump 
organization. And I guess that was the real, real break between the two 
organizations. Browning on the one hand wanted to curb the strength of the 
political organization of Shelby County and its domination of the state by 
the tremendous majorities that they were able to get at that particular 
time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: How successful was Prentice Cooper's 

first term as Governor? 
MR. CARR: Well, he was able to have a very suc- 

cessful term as I recall. Cooper was 
a pretty conservative governor. Back then the budgets weren't anything 
to be compared with what they are today. But then the war years came 
along of course a lot of activities were curbed. I think one of the ses- 
sions — legislative sessions — were then seventy-five days. And they ran 
right through weekends and all — they were consecutive days from the time 
that the Legislature met on the first Monday in January unless they by 
resolution agreed to recess for more than three days or if they sometimes 
did have recesses during those legislative periods for three or four 
weeks to study — they called them junket committees back then in those 
days. They let recess committees study educational institutions and penal 
institutions or some other committees working on various parts of the 
state government. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Why did they call them junket committees? 

MR. CARR: Well, I think the newspapers then thought 



5 

that a lot of them were set up just to 
give the members of the Legislature an opportunity to ride around over the 
state (laughter) on junkets. But Cooper was a very conservative governor — 
although I think maybe we have gone over this before — he had some problems 
sometimes. He was the type of fellow that had strong convictions and did- 
n't always agree with even those that were close to him or who assisted 
him from various counties in helping him be elected governor. He would 
sometimes be offensive to them and there would always have to be some- 
body to kind of mend the fences between the Governor and his friends 
from various counties. At time, Mr. Crump would get put out with it to 
some extent, but he never would openly criticize him for it. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Why did they have trouble when Mr. 

Crump and Governor Cooper disagreed? 
MR. CARR: I don't recall really maybe where 

they had any open public disagreement — 
they might of had some private disagreement over some matter. But I 
think Mr. Crump generally had a great respect for Governor Cooper. I 
think there's a time when maybe Governor Cooper didn't treat some of his 
friends exactly right you know, and a little hasty sometimes at making 
decisions about some of his friends doing things that he thought it was- 
n't necessary. 
DR. CRAWFORD: He was a popular governor though in 

general, wasn't he? 
MR. CARR: Yes, he was. He, of course, was a 

bachelor and he lived--his mother and 
father lived with him most of the time — at the Govern 's residence at that 
time was located on West End Avenue. And he had a parrot called "Laura." 
He used to get a lot of — newspapers used to play the parrot up quite a 



6 
bit particularly when he was running a campaign there. In cartoons some- 
time they'd have the parrot in there with Cooper and other people that 
were associated with Cooper in the campaign. 

His mother was a very petite fine lady and she looked after the re- 
sidence for the Governor. His father was a banker or lawyer. I don't 
think he cared too much about the life of living in Nashville in the Gov- 
ernor's residence, but he stayed here quite a bit of the time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: They kept their place in Shelbyville, 

didn't they? 
MR. CARR: Yes, they kept their home in Shelbyville. 

And the Governor depended on his mother 
to a great extent for what entertaining they did you know in the Governor's 
residence at that particular time. She was a very fine lady and Mr. Cooper, 
his father, was a very fine man. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Well, he was elected for three straight 

terms. 
MR. CARR: Three straight terms. 

DR. CRAWFORD: You managed his second campaign, didn't 

you? 
MR. CARR: Yes. 

DR. CRAWFORD: In 1940? How did that come about, Mr. 

Carr? 
MR. CARR: Mr. John Harton from Tullahoma was his 

first manager, and he was elected Trea- 
surer of the state of Tennessee under Governor Cooper and I think they felt 
it wouldn't be proper for the Treasurer of the State managing the campaign. 



7 
I had been with Governor Cooper during most of his travels across the 
state during his first campaign. And I think some of them felt that I 
had the knowledge and so forth of the county organizations and wasn't do- 
ing anything other than I had been elected Chief Clerk of the House — that 
I would be the proper man to manage the campaign and so they selected me 
to manage it. We didn't have, as I recall, a very heated campaign. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Who ran against him then? 

MR. CARR: Well, let's see, on the second campaign 

we had Mitchel, who ran one time and I 
don't know whether it was the second campaign or the third campaign that 
Mitchell ran. He was a former congressman from the old fourth district. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes sir. Prentice Cooper's second cam- 

paign, Mr. Carr, was carried out just 
before World War II. Was that any kind of issue in that campaign? Pre- 
paration for the war or anything? 

MR. CARR: Well, I think the war situation and the 

preparation for it was possibly in Coop- 
er's favor on his second term for reelection although as I recall he did- 
n't have any real serious opposition. I mean by that — going back just a 
little — The Tennessean — Mr. Silliman Evans was here and he supported Gov- 
ernor Cooper when Cooper ran against Browning. The Tennessean did. 
Later because of the conflict between Mr. Crump and Evans on the poll tax 
issue and one or two other things — they split and The Tennessean on Pren- 
tice's second term, I think, was opposed to him. And that's when I be- 
lieve they had Cooper, Stewart, and Hudson campaign. (Naw, I'm all mixed 



8 
up that might have been the first campaign.) 

DR. CRAWFORD: We'll see how that turns out then. 

MR. CARR: The first campaign might have been Coop- 

er, Stewart and Hudson. Tom Stewart ran 
against George Berry, I believe, who was at that time head of the real 
strong union up in East Tennessee and had been appointed to the Senate. 
These things will have to have a little research done on to have any degree 
of accuracy in them. 
DR. CRAWFORD: That's all right. We can check some of 

these things. What about your duties as 
campaign manager? What did you include in the things you did? 
MR. CARR: Well, in those days back then it wasn't 

very difficult to organize the various 
counties because an organizational set-up had been established prior to 
that one and you had pretty well established a county organization if you 
just had a continuation of the one you had up previously when Cooper was 
elected the first time. You depended pretty much on the same organization. 

You had the Shelby County organization in West Tennessee with the 
leadership that they had there and across the state in the various coun- 
ties you had very little change as I recall. You depended very much on the 
same leadership that you had. In fact, as a matter of fact, the organi- 
zation all through the six years of the three campaign that Cooper had 
with very little change here and there were pretty much the same- Of 
course, he had the Crump organization's support behind him and then with 
the total vote not being as heavy as it is — that being during the poll tax 
years — Shelby County giving you anywhere from 25,000 to 30,000 to 40,000 
majority. That was always a big factor in a candidate's favor in those 



9 
days you know. Then people said, "Well, he's going to be elected." Just 
because he's going to be elected because he had Crump's orgainzation be- 
hind him. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Did you travel a lot or did you handle 

it by telephone? 
MR. CARR: Well, I traveled some, but most of it 

was done through state headquarters and 
telephone and letter writing and that type of thing. Of course, we did- 
n't have a lot of . . .we had some radio, media and then did some by news- 
paper advertising. As I recall we didn't have much television back then — 
television advertising. 
DR. CRAWFORD: So, it didn't take as much money to run 

a campaign? 
MR. CARR: Oh, no, oh no. Nothing compared to what 

it would cost today. I don't recall in 
dollars and cents because in those days most of the counties would take care 
of their own organizational expense. They wouldn't call on the state organ- 
ization — you didn't have all the money you had to raise for television or 
radio or newspaper advertising. Counties would more or less raise their 
own money and pay their expenses so actually on a state level most of what 
you had was your headquarters expense, your telephone expense, your per- 
sonnel you had employed which wouldn't be too many. And we did have a 
letter writing campaign across with lists we could get together. But that 
was about the extent of — and I don't recall — can't remember whether — of 
course, you were limited then under the old law. One time — what was it — 



10 
10,000 dollars. It was very low. 
DR. CRAWFORD: It was very low. 

MR. CARR: It was ridiculous figure which nobody 

could actually comply with. But it 
didn't take an awful lot of money. I guess if you spent $75,000 or 
$100,000 for state headquarters you were maybe spending a right smart of 
money. Most of it was done on a local level by the local organizations. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes. And now it takes say. . . 

MR. CARR: Well, in this past campaign, you know, 

they were talking in terms of one can- 
didate spending in two elections over $4,000,000. I don't guess those 
elections were free elections that Cooper ran. Probably the primary and 
general election didn't cost — oh, I'd say over a half million dollars if 
that much. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Yes. 

MR. CARR: We never had to spend a lot of money. 

You had key people in the different 
parts of the state. Like in East Tennessee you had Mr. Thad Cox, prom- 
inent attorney in Johnson City. You would almost leave that upper east 
Tennessee area to him. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Yes. 

MR. CARR: And then in Chattanooga you had people 

with similar stature, Knoxville, Nash- 
ville, and in West Tennessee you had the Crump organization so you didn't 
have to spend a lot of money and you had the organization and they stayed 
pretty well and it wasn't necessary to spend a lot of money. 



11 

DR. CRAWFORD: How well did you know the county organ- 

izations? 
MR. CARR: Knew them pretty well back then. Of 

course, you didn't have to deal with 
a lot of people like you do today. You'd deal with one or two people in a 
county. 

DR. CRAWFORD: They would be. . .? 

MR. CARR: They would be the key people that you 

would have to spend your time with and 
they would look after the county and in most cases you knew where your 
strong counties were, you knew where your weaker counties were. You could 
come pretty close to predicting how you would do in the primary or the 
general election. Of course, general elections back then you didn't have 
to worry about too much because the Republican party at that particular 
time didn't offer a lot of opposition. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Whoever got the Democratic primary was? 

MR. CARR: Whoever got the Democratic primary was 

almost certain of reelection in November; 
Of course, you had two United States Senators back then — you had Senator 
McKellar, who was a strong man in the United States Senate and Senator Tom 
Stewart was elected. You had two strong U.S. senators plus a governor's 
office and all the congressmen. At that particular time you had, I think, 
ten congressional districts and I think all of them were Democrat except 
two — first and second districts. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes, upper east Tennessee. 



12 
MR. CARR: Yes, but it's a political picture that 

as drastically changed in recent years 
and you have a different ball game. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Where did you raise money for a campaign? 

What resources in 1940? 
MR. CARR: Most of it through people. A lot of it 

came from the state people — the employees. 
And of course, some businesses that were interested in state government would 
contribute, but you got a lot of your money back then from employees' contri- 
butions. 

DR. CRAWFORD: How voluntary was that? 

MR. CARR: Well, most of them were then — you had 

very little trouble — there were some who 
had some problems with newspapers saying "shakedown." 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes. 

MR. CARR: Generally speaking, I think most of the 

employees in the department were glad 
to make up a pot and for campaign purposes. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did you have a separate treasurer? 

MR, CARR: Yes, you did. I've forgotten who was 

treasurer that year. Mr. Will T. Cheek, 
I think was treasurer the year I managed the campaign. He's deceased now. 
He was of a very prominent family here in Nashville. The Cheek family, you 
know, and they actually did most of the money raising. It's one thing that 
I did not have to contend with was then having to raise the money and manage 



the campaign too 
DR. CRAWFORD: 



13 



Yes. That's why you need a separate 
treasurer. How did the candidate gen- 



erally travel in 1940? 

MR. CARR: By automobile. 

DR. CRAWFORD: What shape were the roads in then? 

MR. CARR: Well, most of them were fairly good as- 

phalt roads. Of course, if you got into 
a lot of rural areas in some counties that you would get on dirt roads, but 
most of them were in fairly good shape. But the candidates then would make 
maybe six or seven speeches a day. Maybe starting out at ten o'clock in the 
morning, speak somewhere and at noon they would have lunch and speak and 
they'd speak somwhere else at two o'clock. Maybe somewhere else at four, 
maybe somewhere else at seven or seven- thirty you know. You'd have any- 
where from five or six speeches a day. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes. 

MR. CARR: You would cover a lot of territory. The 

campaign itinerary was pretty well plan- 
ned out in advance where you know you couldn't make long distance and stop 
and speak and shake hands and you would make six or seven times a day. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Was that sort of hard on the candidate? 

MR. CARR: Well, it took its toll sometimes. Pretty 

worn out at night and particularly when 
you need to get up early in the morning and have to meet another group at 
the city cafe for breakfast or something. 



14 



DR. CRAWFORD: Did candidates try to get in all the coun- 

ties? 
MR. CARR: Yes, they tried to make them — tried to 

make most of them. And you'd hit in — rea- 
son I'd say you'd make four or five or six stops a day, you'd get into a coun- 
ty and maybe you'd hit two or three spots in that county. Like if you went 
into, well, for instance Putnam County — you know I'd go to Monterey, Cooke- 
ville, and Baxter, and three or four places in Putnam County. And then some 
of the other counties, like in Gibson County where you had Humboldt, Trenton, 
and places that in the county that had vie or six good sized towns. You tried 
to make maybe nearly every town in the county. And the campaign would run a 
lot longer too. You take a candidate, you'd open your headquarters and 
get started for your August primary maybe along in the latter part of April 
or May. See, you would run from May, June and July and three or four months 
sometimes. And of course, then you used the radio some. As I recall you 
used the radio some. 

Did you travel with Prentice Cooper any 
on this campaign? 

Not too much on his second campaign. I did 
on his first campaign. I drove him a lot 



DR. CRAWFORD: 



MR. CARR: 



and traveled with him a lot. 

DR. CRAWFORD: And he had gotten to know you when he 

was in the Senate? 
MR. CARR: Yes, I had known him but not too well, but 

I had known him. But some of the people 
close to him after he had announced that he was going to run for governor 



15 
thought that because of my knowledge of some of the counties and knowing 
a lot of the people that were in the organizational set up, you know, I 
could travel with him and had that knowledge of the counties, although I 
was fairly young at that particular time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: You'd had a chance to learn about the 

counties even then. (Laughter) Campaigns 
have changed a great deal. 
MR. CARR: Oh, it's been a tremendous change. It's 

entirely new! 
DR. CRAWFORD: What kind of speaker was Prentice Cooper? 

MR. CARR: Cooper was not a very good speaker to 

start with. He developed as he went alon^ 
He was not what you would call an orator by any means. He developed into 
a pretty good speaker — not an excellent speaker — but a fairly good speaker. 
People I think were all set maybe for the fact that people thought that he 
was sincere in what he was saying. Of course, Prentice Cooper was a very 
smart man and had a very good use of the English language and knew how and 
what to say. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Did he talk about the issues a lot in his 

speeches? 
MR. CARR: Yes, I think they discussed what they 

thought was best for the state of Ten- 
nessee at that particular time. It was either Crump or anti-Crump back 
in those days. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes. 



16 
MR. CARR: Some of it had to be in a defensive way 

of what your position was regarding 
Shelby County organization. But Tom Stewart, who was running for U.S. Senate 
along at the same time was a very effective speaker, and so was Mr. Hudson, 
who was running for Public Service Commission. They called them at that 
particular — I guess it was that first race — they called them the "three blind 
mice." (Laughter) I think the opposition did. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Now who were the "three blind mice?" 

MR. CARR: Well, it was Cooper, Stewart, and Hudson. 

If you go back to some of the old news- 
paper accounts of that — Joe Hatcher should have known a lot of that — I could 
sit around with Joe and we could reminisce you know for hours about a lot 
of campaigns back then. Joe was a political writer fo r The Tennessean at that 
particular time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: The "three blind mice" were Cooper, Stewart 

and ... 
MR. CARR: Hudson. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Yes. 

MR. CARR: W.D.P. Hudson. He was running for Rail- 

road Public Utilities Commission. He 
was from Clarksville, Tennessee. Tom Stewart had been a Judge out in Frank- 
lin County and maybe a Chancellor out there. I'm not sure. But they were all 
successful and were elected. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did Prentice Cooper thank you for your work 

in it? 



17 



MR, CARR: Yes, very fortunately, all the time that 

I was associated with Governor Cooper, 
I never had — except on one or two occasions — any minor disagreement about 
anything. There was once or twice he became a little bit irritated when 
he would get tired or something you know. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Well, he had a short temper too, didn't 

he? 
MR. CARR: Yes, he had a short temper at times. 

DR. CRAWFORD: I'd like to ask you about a few people, 

Mr. Carr that I hope to get to. One of 
them is Clyde Jones at McMinnville. Do you know if he is still living? 
MR. CARR: Clyde's still living. I think he goes 

to Arizona. He's had a respiratory prob- 
lem and I think he goes to Arizona in the winter now or did or whether he's 
not you could probably catch him in McMinnville. Clyde was one of his sec- 
retaries you know for a while. 

He would certainly know something about 
it. What else has he done? Was he in pol- 



DR. CRAWFORD; 



itics himself? 
MR. CARR: 

the ranks of the Young Democrats. 
DR. CRAWFORD: 
MR. CARR: 
DR. CRAWFORD: 



Clyde? Yes, he was active in the Young 
Democrats. He was one that came up in 

Quite a few of you did, didn't you? 
Yes, back then. 

Do you know how long he was there with 
Governor Cooper? 



18 
MR. CARR: I think he was there a couple of years and 

then he had a boy named Eddie Frier, who 
was later Secretary of State, with him a while. Jimmy Harden, who is de- 
ceased, was secretary I think at first to the Governor and then he went 
into the service during the war. And I think that's when Clyde Jones came 
on the scene. 

DR. CRAWFORD: When Jimmy Harden went to war? 

MR. CARR: Yes, and I'll tell you who else was in 

there a short time. It was a U.S. Dis- 
trict Judge now, Charlie Neese. If I'm not mistaken Charlie served a while 
in there. He is in East Tennessee — a federal judge over there. And Clyde 
Jones — I've forgotten how long Clyde served in there with the Governor. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Which is the federal judge now who was 

associated with the Governor? 
MR. CARR: Charles Neese, N-E-E-S-E. I believe. 

And I think he's still — I don't think 
he 's retired. I think he's still active. I mean still on the bench there 
in East Tennessee. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did he serve in the Governor's office too? 

MR. CARR: Yes, if I'm not mistaken. He was maybe 

in there for a short time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Then, let me ask you about another one. 

What about Bayne Stewart from Shelbyville? 
MR. CARR: Bayne was in Personnel. Bayne may have 

worked in that office for a while, but he 
later took over the Personnel job, as Director of Personnel. Later he created 



19 
a department out of it. Bayne was close to Prentice because they both came 
from Shelbyville. I think Bayne stayed in the administration all during the 
administration. I don't know what year he died, but Bayne was very active 
and very close to the Cooper family. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes. Now, let's see. Bayne Stewart is 

still living in Shelbyville? 
MR. CARR: No, he's deceased. He's been dead for years. 

Mr. Hartman is dead. He was close to him 
at that particular time. 
DR. CRAWFORD: So many people who were around then are 

gone now. What about Malcolm Hill? Do 
you know anything? 
MR. CARR: I think Malcolm's dead. I believe he is. 

I'm not sure now, but he would be in Sparta. 
He and Malcolm Hill and Prentice were close friends although I think they 
had some disagreement at times, but they were still very close friends. I 
think they almost got into a little encounter between the two of them years 
ago. Between Malcolm and Prentice — you know one of these friendly. . . 
DR. CRAWFORD: Didn't Governor Cooper have occasional 

arguments like that with several people? 
MR. CARR: Oh yes. I think he and General Roy Beeler 

who, of course, is deceased, and young 
Matt Tipton, was in the attorney general's office, he would get into some 
pretty strong arguments with. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Why was the Governor always getting into 

arguments like that? You know governors 
usually don't. 



20 
MR. CARR: Oh well, Prentice — I don't know. A lot 

of people thought that Prentice, being 
an only child and maybe being closer to his mother than his father. They 
used to say that Mr. Cooper would get pretty peeved at some of the things 
going on with Prentice with the way he acted and would go home and stay a 
day or two (Laughter) before he would come back. Did you ever interview 
his wife? 

DR. CRAWFORD: No, they married rather late, didn't they? 

MR. CARR: Yes. They have three fine boys. I met 

one of them last summer. I think he was 
finishing at Vanderbilt Law School or going to Vanderbilt Law School. He 
was doing a paper on his day, and this has been a couple of years ago now. 
Of course, he knew some of these things too. He was very frank to discuss 
them, I think. 
DR. CRAWFORD: I've heard Mrs. Cooper, Hortense, mention 

several things about the administration. 
I see her occasionally — I spoke to a convention she attended last November, 
I guess it was, and see her in meetings now and then. She is still active 
in Shelbyville. He was a very colorful governor. 

MR. CARR: A lot of people thought that maybe Pren- 

tice was the type — he absolutely was hon- 
est — nobody questioned his integrity. Prentice Cooper was family — he was 
an only child and I would say a wealthy family. His sole concern was try- 
ing to do a good job for the state, I think. A lot of times people maybe 
say the wrong thing — they wanted a road built here or there that he thought 



21 
shouldn't be built there and was just wasting the state's money doing a 
thing like that — and that would cause an argument. Particularly, if a 
fellow had worked hard for him from some county and came into his office 
and would say they wanted this done or that done. He'd say why would 
you want this done and question it you know, and that would create problems 
sometimes. With some of the people he was. . . 

DR. CRAWFORD: He was a little abrupt, I guess. 

MR. CARR: And some fo the people that associated 

with him. I don't know if I ever told 
you or not that you ought to. . . Did you ever check with Judge McCandless — 
George McCandless — who was one of the commissioners under Prentice Cooper. 
DR. CRAWFORD: No sir. I have not. 

MR. CARR: Later Attorney General, then later on the 

supreme bench. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes. 

MR. CARR: Then he retired. 

DR. CRAWFORD: He served on the State Historical Commission 

with me. Do you remember what commissioner 
he was? 
MR. CARR: He was Commissioner of Finance and Taxation, 

which is now revenue. George wouldn't be 
a bad person to interview. If you want to, you can tell him that you and I 
had discussed it. He and I, when I see him occasionally, we had a very high 
regard for Prentice Cooper and still do as far as that is concerned, but we 
used to get a kick out of some of the little things that would happen. 



22 
You know, and the humorous things that would happen — the way Prentice would 
jump on — I say, jump on — maybe lecture some of his commissioners occasionally 
about something that was going on, you know. He lived not too far from here. 
He lived over off of Ainsworth Avneue. It's in the neighborhood. George 
is one of the fe that's still — now Tip Taylor in Jackson, Tennessee was one 
of the first — he's a judge down there. Now, Tip was one of Prentice's first 
commissioners, Corrections. Did you ever talk to Tip Taylor? 
DR. CRAWFORD: No, but he is on my list. 

MR. CARR: Andrew Taylor, Tip Taylor. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Yes. 

MR. CARR: He's still living and still on the bench. 

I believe he was a commissioner — I don't 
think they called it "Corrections" then. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Prisons or whatever. 

MR. CARR: Yes. "Institutions" I believe they called 

it. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Commissioner of Institutions? Well, I can 

ask him which one it was. For I'll cer- 
tainly talk with him. And, Mr. Carr, I notice that our time is up. 



HECKMAN 

BINDERY INC. 

/gll OCT 88 

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